Police officer client cleared of assault charge

Client cleared of allegation of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following arrest of a suspect

In a verdict delivered late on Friday 5 November 2021 in St Albans Crown Court, our client was found not guilty of causing actual bodily harm to a suspect following an arrest, with evidence taken from police Body Worn Video (BWV) footage.

The outcome followed a five-day long trial, where the officer was also represented by Kevin McCartney, counsel, of 5 Paper Buildings, and marked the end of lengthy criminal proceedings brought by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The Police Federation of England and Wales instructed Hempsons partner Adam Smith in 2019 to defend the officer concerned when he was accused of causing a facial injury to a suspect immediately following his arrest on suspicion of going equipped to steal. It was alleged the officer had deliberately “slammed” the suspect’s face into the police vehicle.

However, the officer maintained from the outset that the collision occurred accidentally as he attempted to restrain the suspect against the vehicle for his own safety. Addressing the court, he said “I felt like I was losing my grip. I decided to pin him. The nearest structure was the rear tailgate of the police car.”

Partner Adam Smith said “The BWV footage showed the officer holding the suspect at the time of the incident, but was not decisive in terms of exactly what had happened. Much depended on the evidence of the officer and that of the suspect. Clearly the officer had been dealing with a difficult situation.”

Read more about our criminal practice and the services we offer.