Friday, November 19, 2010

could do better

In July 2008, a police sergeant was caught on CCTV dragging a 59 year old woman across the floor before literally throwing her into a cell. She tried to walk out of it but was picked up and thrown back in. She suffered cuts and bruises to her face and says her vision is impaired, probably requiring an operation.

At the trial, he was convicted of ABH and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. The district judge said 'right-thinking members of the public will be appalled and totally saddened by your actions as a police officer' .

The Assistant Chief Constable said ‘the force has formally apologised to the injured lady for the assault she suffered while in our care.’ He added 'there is no place in Wiltshire Police for an officer like this. I fully support the comments of the judge and the sentence that he has handed down today. The officer let the public down, he let his colleagues down and he has let himself down. He was a disgrace.'

The officer, who also apologised for his actions, was released after 6 days, pending appeal.

Despite the apologies from the police, recognising the sergeant’s guilt, the crown court judge, Mr Bean (it really is his name), presiding with 2 magistrates, proved he is not one of the DJ’s 'right-thinking people', by quashing the conviction.

The CCTV evidence was the same, and identity of the offender was not in dispute, so what could have been the basis for the reversal of the judicial decision ? The police effectively admitted that the force used by the sergeant was not reasonable and proportionate, a view endorsed by the DJ, but the appeal court clearly thought it was. Mr Bean said the officer “could have done things better”. Well, that’s true.



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