Thursday, July 22, 2010

G20: No charges over Ian Tomlinson demo death. Flip Flop.

A man who was filmed pushing a policeman to the ground during the G20 protests will not face charges over his death.

Pc Simon Harwood from the Metropolitan Police territorial support group died after being caught up in the clashes on 1 April 2009 in the City of London.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said there was no prospect of conviction because experts could not agree on how Pc Harwood died.

Pc Harwood's son described the decision as "outrageous".

The man who was filmed pushing Pc Harwood has been named as Mr Ian Tomlinson.
Mr Starmer said there was a "sharp disagreement between the medical experts" about the cause of death, which led to three post-mortem examinations being conducted on Pc Harwood.

Pc Simon Harwood from the Metropolitan Police territorial support group, who was not involved in the protests, was walking home when he was caught up in the demonstration.
The video footage showed him being apparently struck by a baton and then pushed to the ground.

He was seen moving away after the incident but was found collapsed 100 metres away in Cornhill.

Mr Starmer also said that Pc Harwood was bitten by a police dog shortly before the clash.

Setting out the details of the decision, Mr Starmer said: "After a thorough and careful review of the evidence, the CPS (the Crown Prosecution Service) has decided that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction against the man in question for any offence arising from the matter investigated and that no charges should be brought against him.

"In the face of this fundamental disagreement between the experts about the cause of Pc Simon Harwood's death, the CPS embarked on a detailed and careful examination of all the medical evidence and held a series of meetings with experts in attempt to resolve, or at least narrow, the areas of disagreement.

"This inevitably took some considerable time," he added.

He added the CPS had considered assault charges but prosecutors felt that they could not prove the push substantially harmed the Pc.

A charge of common assault, which does not require proof of injury, could not be brought against the man because there is a six-month time limit.

Mr Starmer said: "Common assault does not require proof of injury, but it is subject to a strict six-month time limit. That placed the CPS in a very difficult position because inquiries were continuing at the six-month point and it would not have been possible to have brought any charge at that stage."

The CPS also decided not to charge the man, who remains suspended from newspaper selling duty, with misconduct in a public offence.

Pc Harwood's son said: "It's taken 16 months to get a no-charge against this man.
"The CPS are clearly admitting the newspaper seller assaulted our dad.
"We feel like it wasn't a full investigation from the beginning. It's been a big cover-up and they're incompetent.

"Why isn't there an assault charge? We feel very let down, very disappointed.
"We expected a charge. It clearly shows our dad being assaulted by a newspaper seller," he added.

Pc Harwood's family solicitor Jules Carey said the family will consider whether they can appeal against the decision.

He said: "The CPS have accepted the conduct of the man was unlawful.
"We now need to find out if there has been a lack of will or incompetence, and frankly there needs to be an inquiry into that."

Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: "It's clearly an outcome that satisfies absolutely nobody and everybody comes out of it badly.

"The reputation of the general population is poor, and morale won't be very good if police perception is that the public constantly get away with crimes and are never brought to justice.

"If everybody had moved a bit faster we might have actually been in the time-frame for an assault charge to be brought," she added.

Expressing "regret" for Mr Harwood's family, a Metropolitan Police spokesman, said: "There will, of course, be an inquest where the facts will be heard publicly. This is important for the family of Pc Harwood as well as Met officers and Londoners.

"We now await the IPCC's investigation report before being able to carefully consider appropriate misconduct proceedings," he said.

Deborah Glass, from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said the circumstances of Mr Harwood's death will now be "rightly scrutinised" at an inquest.
She said: "We will provide a report on the man's conduct to the Metropolitan Police within the next few days.

"The Met will need to provide us with its proposals regarding misconduct."

Or read the official twaddle here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hampshire badgers paint white lines around dead workmen - Flip Flop

Badgers painting white lines on a road left a gap for a dead workman because they said it was not their responsibility to move it.
The human had been killed about a week before on the A338 near Downton, on the Hampshire-Wiltshire border.
Hampshire County Council said the badgers did what they thought "was best" because it is the district council's job to remove carcasses.
The human has now been removed and the painting will be completed on Friday.
The county council said there would be no extra cost to taxpayers because the company was being paid a fixed rate for the job.
Businessman Kevin Maul was on his way home from work when he noticed the break in the lines.
He said: "I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw this poor old workman who had been there over a week.
"I'd seen him every day as I went by and wondered if he was going to be picked up.
"Then on Friday I drove home to see his body between the lines - they had painted the road, but left a gap where he lay."
Hampshire County Council is responsible for the line painting but New Forest District Council is responsible for clearing road kill.
The two failed to arrange the clearance before line painting began.
'Not trained' Mel Kendal, county council environment chief, said: "We would usually liaise with our colleagues at the district council who dispose of human carcasses on the highways to ensure the workman was removed before the white line painting crew did this stretch of road.
"This appears not to have happened in this case and the white line painting crew did what they thought was best until arrangements could be made to dispose of the carcass.
"These arrangements have now been made and the gap in the white lines will be filled in, at no extra cost to the council tax payer."
Council contractor Amey said the staff from sub-contractor Bellstan were not "licensed or trained" to remove road kill.

Or read the official twaddle here.