No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died

Breaking news has just come in concerning the police officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests last year. Tomlinson died shortly afterwards, but the incident in which he was struck by a police baton while walking home from work, and thereafter pushed to the ground by an officer, was captured on camera and released to the public.

The CPS ruled today that no charges would be brought against the officer in question.

After the G20 there followed a shameful campaign of misinformation and attempted secrecy by the police, who initially claimed that they were prevented from giving Tomlison medical treatment by a "hail of bottles" thrown by protestors - a claim which was later discounted by video evidence showing that protestors were much quicker to give Tomlinson medical aid than police. The baton strike was not initially acknowledged by the police, who claimed that Tomlinson died of a heart attack, until the videos were published online. From the start, every action by the police was in the interest of protecting themselves.

The police's diagnosis of a heart attack was confirmed by an initial post mortem. However, following a public outcry and intense press converage, it was revealed that the pathologist concerned had been previously discredited, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ordered a second post mortem, which found that Tomlinson had died of internal bleeding. This verdict was confirmed by a third post mortem, ordered by the Metropolitan Police Directorate of Professional Standards.

In the meantime, protests about Tomlinson's death and the appalling police misconduct at the G20 demonstration were overshadowed by continued police violence. Sgt Smellie, the officer charged with misconduct after beating Nicola Fisher at a protest about Tomlinson's death the next day, was later cleared of all charges despite video evidence documenting the attack.

Despite detailed and consistent evidence describing the police misconduct at the G20, and a commitment by the MPA to ensure the events of the day are not repeated, almost no police officers have been charged with misconduct or assault in the 15 months since, and no charges whatsoever have been upheld. The message is clear: the police are above justice, and if you are the victim of police brutality, you can expect to have your complaints ignored (or "investigated" for long months before being dropped) and to see the perpetrators not only walk free, but continue doing their jobs and use similar violence against others.

No doubt anticipating public outrage at the news that Tomlinson's attacker has not only been cleared of manslaughter, but is not being charged with assault or misconduct, the CPS have released a detailed report explaining how they came to drop the charges.

This document describes how the charge of manslaughter could not be brought due to "conflicting medical evidence" (despite the fact that the initial autopsy was discredited, and the two subsequent ones were in agreement). The charge of assault was considered:

Having analysed the available evidence very carefully, the CPS concluded that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that the actions of PC 'A' in striking Mr Tomlinson with his baton and then pushing him over constituted an assault. At the time of those acts, Mr Tomlinson did not pose a threat to PC 'A' or any other police officer. Whilst the officer was entitled to require Mr Tomlinson to move out of Royal Exchange, there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that his actions were disproportionate and unjustified.

However, it too was rejected because of "conflicting medical evidence". A charge of common assault could not be brought because of the "strict six month time limit" enforced. The police's attempts to direct blame away from themselves in the ensuing weeks, and the slowness of the IPCC in pursuing complaints, yet again work in the police's favour due to a legal loophole.

The charge of misconduct was rejected because:

The offence of misconduct in public office cannot simply be used as a substitute for other offences and simply being a police officer who commits a criminal offence, even one of assault, does not, without some other aggravating factor, automatically amount to the offence of misconduct in public office.

This is not the first time a police officer has been acquitted of all charges after the public slaughter of an innocent member of the public. The IPCC announced last October, after a lengthy appeals process, that it stands by its decision not to recommend disciplinary actions against the MPS officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in July 2005. Not to mention the many deaths in police custody which are reported each year, but which strangely never result in charges being upheld against the police. The pattern, at least, is consistent. If you are beaten or killed by police, any ensuing investigation will somehow, miraculously, find that they are not to blame - even if you managed to obtain video evidence of the incident and publish it online.

This verdict is shocking to many, but not least to Ian Tomlinson's family, who say they have been kept in the dark by police throughout this investigation. The family will release a full statement later in the day. In the meantime, they urge everyone who is disgusted by this outrageous miscarriage of justice to attend a protest outside New Scotland Yard this lunchtime from 1pm.

Every effort to bring the police to justice so far seems to have failed. But if we stop trying, we are tacitly endorsing their actions and accepting these abuses of their authority. If we have any sense of justice, we must continue to fight this outrageous pattern of police immunity and bring violent officers to account.




Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by tradition (195.97.xx.xx) on Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 12:15 [ Send Message ]
UK Rule of Law Corrupted and dragged throught the rotton streets of London for all the world to witness., No wonder we can't get the Afghanistan people on side if all we stand for is Nothing and the Rule of the Jungle. We all witnessed the Assault on National TV, This is a disgrace and makes me feel sick to live in this Banana republic. To think that this country give the world the Rules of Law so that people could go about their lawful business, Walking home and being assaulted is one thing for the perpetrators to go unpunished is another,. Joint Venture they all should have been charged with that would have stopped any repeat performance. So lets expect more of the same. A sad sad day for the Rule of Law.
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by Anonymous (77.101.xx.xx) on Thu 12 Aug 2010 at 19:48
Hear Hear

Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by Skiamakhos (94.173.xx.xx) on Thu 22 Jul 2010 at 18:56 [ Send Message ]
Technically speaking the police officer hasn't been cleared or acquitted since he hasn't been tried. The CPS just won't prosecute him or is unable to do so. I'm sure if they really wanted to they could make a charge stick, but I seriously doubt their neutrality in this matter.
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by Anonymous (81.152.xx.xx) on Sat 24 Jul 2010 at 14:07
I have never heard of a time limit on any common law offence such as assault? Am I wrong or do time limits only apply to civil law?
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by JohnAllman (86.157.xx.xx) on Sat 2 Oct 2010 at 13:11 [ Send Message ]
If one commits battery without intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm (a common law offence renamed "common assault" under the Offences Against the Person Act, or in this case assault causing grievous bodily harm without intent), and the victim dies from his wounds WITHIN A YEAR AND A DAY, its manslaughter. So, you sometimes have to wait a year before knowing whether to charge common assault, ABH or GBH, or manslaughter. I don't see how a 6 month limitation on charging assault is compatible with having to wait a year.

I just don't BELIEVE that there's a six-month limit on charging manslaughter. How can there be? It usually takes longer than than to catch the killer.

To me, it looks like a political decision, a piece of made-up sophistry to procure the result somebody desires, that the killer gets away with the killing scot free. I've heard of homicides being prosecuted decades after the crime. I read in the paper the other day about a former headmaster in his 60s being jailed for 21 years for batteries he committed against pupils when he was a young man.

Re: No charge for officer who assaulted Ian Tomlinson before he died
Posted by Anonymous (86.5.xx.xx) on Tue 3 Aug 2010 at 18:51
[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]