A student who suffered a brain injury at a university fees demonstration has been cleared of violent disorder.
Alfie Meadows was accused of causing disruption during the December 9 2010 demonstration in central London against plans to treble tuition fees at English universities.
But a jury took less than five hours to return a unanimous not guilty verdict at a retrial at London's Woolwich Crown Court.
Meadows, 22, of Brixton, south London, was among more than 10,000 people taking part in the protest, which coincided with a vote on the proposed tuition fees increase in Parliament. Zak King, 22, of Street, Somerset, was also found not guilty of violent disorder.
Meadows, wearing glasses, a dark suit and purple tie, smiled and tapped King on the back as the verdicts were read out. Both men were joined by family members and a number of supporters in the public gallery, some of whom wept following the jury's decision. It was the second retrial to be held after jurors failed to reach a verdict at Kingston Crown Court in April last year.
Releasing Meadows and King from the dock, Judge Douglas Marks Moore said their behaviour on the day of the protest was "on the edge of violent disorder".
Meadows, a Middlesex University philosophy student, had emergency brain surgery after he was allegedly hit with a police baton during the demonstration. An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation was put on hold in 2011 after police charged Meadows.
Outside the court, Meadows said he was "delighted" with the verdict and would now consider taking further action against the Metropolitan Police. He said: "It's vindication of my struggle for justice for the injury I received at the student protest. The verdict is not just for me but the wider struggle against police brutality." Meadows's mother Susan Meadows said: "The whole family has been through two years of total agony. We have been silenced on what happened to our son. We can now move on to the really important thing, which is to get justice for Alfie."
Following the hearing, King said: "I'm very proud of everybody that on the 9th of December stood up for what they believed in. I'm so thankful and I have massive respect for the huge support we've had for the past two years. To family, friends and Defend The Right To Protest and to the jury, thank you very much."
The IPCC said they would make contact with Meadows's legal representatives in the wake of his acquittal. A spokeswoman said: "The investigation was suspended at the request of Mr Meadows's legal team. We will now make contact with them."