Saturday, February 08, 2014

Father 'wrongly' arrested by police at anti-fracking protest over 'trumped-up' drink drive claims he 'only drunk a cup of tea and his car was not in sight'

A father was 'wrongly' arrested during an anti-fracking protest by police who claimed he had been drink-driving - even though there was no car in sight.

Dr Steven Peers, 46, refused to give a roadside breath test in Salford, Greater Manchester, because he said he wasn't driving.

During the confrontation which was caught on camera, Dr Peers repeatedly insisted he had not been drinking and had only had a cup of tea.

The father-of-four, who has a doctorate in metaphysical sciences, accused Greater Manchester Police officers of lying before holding him on 'a ridiculous, trumped-up charge'.

He was later charged with failing to provide a specimen and hauled before the courts. However, the case collapsed when prosecutors offered no evidence.

Dr Peers is now planning to sue police for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and assault following the incident.

He was filming anti-fracking protesters as a self-styled 'lawful observer' during an anti-fracking demonstration in Barton Moss, Salford when he was detained.

Video footage shows a policeman telling Dr Peers 'away with that' (the camera) before shoving him to the floor as he attempts to film a protester being arrested.

A second policeman, Sergeant David Kehoe, then tries to lead Dr Peers away before accusing him of driving to the protest site while drunk.

The officer tells Dr Peers: 'I could arrest you, but I'm not going to. Are you drunk? Have you been drinking this morning? You've been drinking this morning.'

Dr Peers, who lives in New Moston, denies it and says he has only 'had tea'.

Sgt Kehoe adds: 'You arrived in your car this morning. You have had a drink this morning, haven't you? Where's your car? 'You just said to me that you've had two drinks.'

On camera, the father is only heard saying that he had drunk a cup of tea.

The policeman then can be heard saying that Dr Peers arrived at the site in a blue Mercedes.

He asks two other police officers to breathalyse the suspect and he is then arrested when he refuses to provide a specimen.

Although he was charged with failing to provide a breath test, the case was dropped when it went before Manchester and Salford magistrates' court.

Dr Peers, who is an electrical engineer, has made a formal complaint to Greater Manchester Police and the force's professional standards branch is now investigating.

He said: 'It was a ridiculous, trumped-up charge. He told blatant lies. I was shocked that he would do that on camera.'

Dr Peers, who said he is not an anti-fracking protester but goes to the site to document the demonstration, said he had not drunk alcohol on the morning he was arrested - January 14 - and had not arrived in his car as he had stayed there the previous night.

A GMP spokeswoman said: 'Greater Manchester Police have received a complaint about this video which officers from the Professional Standards Branch are investigating.'

The officer involved has not been suspended

Original report here




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