Friday, May 27, 2011

British thug cop finally to face trial

With his past he should not have been in the police that day

A Scotland Yard police officer will be charged with manslaughter over the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests, Britain's top prosecutor ruled today. The Director of Public Prosecutions said there were grounds for PC Simon Harwood to face a trial after reviewing an inquest jury's unlawful killing verdict. PC Harwood will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on June 20, Keir Starmer QC said.

Mr Tomlinson, a homeless 47-year-old newspaper seller, collapsed and died on the fringes of the demonstrations in central London on April 1 2009. The death became an international controversy after New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper.

Speaking after the decision was announced, stepson Paul King said relatives were 'really happy'. He said: 'We are a big step closer to where we want to be.'

Mr Starmer said 'matters have moved on in two ways' since his previous decision not to pursue criminal charges against the officer. New medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind.

The DPP made the announcement after speaking to Mr Tomlinson's relatives at the Crown Prosecution Service's headquarters in central London. In a statement, he said: 'The difficulties that would now confront any prosecution have changed in nature and scale from last year when a decision was taken not to prosecute, although it is clear that real difficulties remain.

'Taking the evidence as it now stands, we have concluded that, even with those remaining difficulties, there is now sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of successfully prosecuting PC Simon Harwood for the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson. 'That being the case, it is clearly in the public interest that criminal proceedings be brought. 'Accordingly, a summons charging PC Harwood with the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson has been obtained from the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.'

Despite welcoming the announcement, Mr King, flanked by Mr Tomlinson's widow Julia, said the decision to prosecute should have been made earlier. Speaking on the steps of the CPS headquarters, he said: 'We should have been here two years ago but we are here now and we are more than happy.'

The DPP launched a 'thorough' review of his decision not to prosecute the officer after the unlawful killing verdict was returned by a jury earlier this month.

CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggered away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.

Footage shows Mr Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.

Widow Julia said the death devastated her family, adding: 'I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me.'

Original report here

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