Friday, February 13, 2015

It's hard to convict a cop

British cop filmed punching a colleague 33 times is CLEARED of assault after claiming he was acting in self-defence

A police officer who got into a row with a colleague over a French woman has been cleared of assaulting him and claiming he was acting in self-defence.

PC Kevin Wasboonma, 30, was accused of punching PC Michael Scullion 33 times after spending hours drinking together at the Alwyne Castle in Highbury, north London, after work.

A team of decorators, who were renovating the pub at the time, captured footage of the brawl - which showed Wasboonma hitting Mr Scullion - but he was found not guilty this afternoon.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Wasboonma had drunk seven pints of cider and several Jagerbombs before the pair started fighting outside on the pavement.

Wasboonma insisted he punched Mr Scullion in self defence after his colleague came ‘steaming’ towards him but denied kicking him and said the camera footage only showed part of the fight.

A jury of six men and six women cleared Wasboonma of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after just one hour and 23 minutes.

During the trial the judge Mr Recorder Gregory Mitchell QC had asked prosecutor Senghin Kong why only Wasboonma was charged. 'Just as a matter of law, two people fighting in the street, is that the offence of affray?,' he asked. 'Potentially your honour,' replied Mr Kong. 'Two police officers being drunk and fighting in the street - they could both be in trouble for that,' said the judge. 'Potentially, yes,' replied Mr Kong.

Robert Morris, for Wasboonma, added: 'Self-defence is also a defence to affray but very much the Crown here have pinned their colours to the mast.'

The pub was packed with French people meeting for a social event organised on Facebook, jurors heard. Wasboonma and Mr Scullion started talking to a group of girls before numbers dwindled at closing time.

In interview Wasboonma said: 'As we went inside, the group sort of got smaller so there were two French girls that we met, everything was fine.

'I got up, went to the bathroom, everyone was leaving. As we have left the pub the two girls that we were talking to most of the night and this guy were walking off as if they were upset about something.

The man turned to Mr Scullion and told him: 'Maybe you should just leave it', jurors heard.

'I said to the guy what had happened and he said they just want to go home now and the girls didn't even say goodbye.

'I didn't know what had happened so then I said to Michael "you know what happened?" at which point he started shouting "It was me, it was me!" but I didn't really understand why he was saying that,' Wasboonma said.

'Michael started going mad at me, calling me a f****** p**** - all of that, being really abusive towards me.'

He said Mr Scullion then launched himself at him, pushing him in the neck and causing him to fall back onto a table.

'He starts to be abusive, he says stuff about my personal life - quite hurtful, insulting someone who is important to me at which point I have turned around and said to him "I want nothing more to do with you don't ever contact me again".'

He said he turned to leave the pub but Mr Scullion punched him again and the pair grappled to the floor, the court heard.

'I then said to him "stop, we are going to lose our jobs over this" because I was worried because obviously if police came past and we are having a roll-around on the floor.

'He has refused to let go of me, he is still grappling with me, he has punched me in the ribs and he wouldn't let me get up so I have punched him,' he said.

'He is grabbing me and all the time he is saying I am going to glass you in the face and then I hit him repeatedly to get him off me,' he said.

They were broken up by decorators who recorded part of the incident on a mobile phone.

But Wasboonma said he was not angry or drunk and pressed he was acting in self-defence from his 'violent' pal.

'I felt tipsy and stuff but not to the point I was unaware of what was going on, I can't stand up straight or I needed help to get home,' he said.

'I wasn't angry, I wasn't angry I just wanted to go home and wanted to take myself out of that equation and leave.'

Wasboonma, of Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, denied assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was found not guilty.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Wasboonma automatically faces misconduct proceedings and added: ‘No other police officer is subject to misconduct proceedings as a result of this case.’ (Indicating that they did not believe Wasboonma's story)

Original report here

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