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Ian Tomlinson death


Ross

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Source: THE GUARDIAN

 

The police officer who was caught on video striking a man during the G20 protests last year who later died will not face criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service announced today.

 

Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, said there was "no realistic prospect" of a conviction, because of a conflict between the postmortems carried out after Tomlinson's death last year.

 

The newspaper seller died following the demonstrations on 1 April 2009 in central London. The official account that he died from a heart attack was undermined when the Guardian obtained video footage showing a riot officer striking the 47-year-old with a baton and shoving him to the ground shortly before he collapsed and died.

 

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, announced this morning that the police officer would not face a criminal trial.

 

In a written statement the CPS admitted that there was sufficient evidence to show the officer had assaulted Tomlinson, but claimed a host of technical reasons meant he could not be charged.

 

Tomlinson's son Paul, flanked by his mother Julia, who was struggling to hold back tears, said: "It's been a huge cover-up and they're incompetent."

 

The family, who went to the headquarters of the CPS in London to be told of the decision today, had wanted a charge of manslaughter to be brought.

 

In a detailed letter setting out its reasons, the CPS said that the actions of the officer

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As much as I moaned the other way about this the other day, it is absolutely criminal that nothing has happened. I hope the officer has at least been dismissed, although the CPS cannot prove the action did not kill him, if he hadn't been pushed then he would still have been alive 100 yards down the road. Shocking stuff.

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You'll have to excuse my ignorance on the mechanics, but as far as I'm aware police pathologists are commissioned by the National Policing Improvement Agency QUANGO and/or the Forensic Science Service, which whilst not a non-departmental body as the NPIA, is still a government-owned company.

 

As far as I can see from this story, there is a clear case for having these critical services provided by a third party, private provider if only to ensure no conflict of interests. I feel very sad for the family of this guy, because now they'll have to live without their relative and without any prevailing sense of justice.

 

I'm the first one to the front of the queue when it comes to defending police officers, and suggesting that they get a bit of a rough time, but it is instances like this that damage the public's trust in policing and they need to be investigated and dealt with in a proper way. Efficient policing is just not possible without the trust of the public.

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Following on from Lister's succinct analysis; could civil charges still be brought?

 

As far as I can see the case was thrown out because the CJS requires prosecutors to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the alleged crime. That said, couldn't the family make a pretty strong civil case on the back of the scale of probabilities, and prove that it was more likely than not that the officer was responsible for the death?

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From what I can tell from the BBC explanation, the problem is that it's not as simple as the prosecution showing two doctors calling it internal bleeding and then the defense showing another doctor calling it a heart attack. There's some legal technicality which means in a manslaughter case the prosecution must call the doctor from the original post mortem as a witness (which is the one who called it a heart attack), and even though it would obviously still call the other two doctors, the CPS procedure means they can't/won't prosecute in a case where they'd have to present evidence which contradicted itself.

 

In what is of course just a weird coincidence, the doctor from the original post mortem is currently under investigation in four cases where he called a death as natural causes and the death later emerged as suspicious.

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Following on from Lister's succinct analysis; could civil charges still be brought?

I'm sure I heard that there was a window of six months for such charges to be brought, which has obviously passed now.

 

There has been some interesting information reported since the identity of the officer in question, PC Simon Harwood, was released;

 

Although it has been decided he will not face criminal charges for striking Tomlinson it has been disclosed that the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, backed a prosecution for manslaughter.

 

Pc Harwood left the Metropolitan Police a decade ago amid controversy over an alleged off-duty road rage incident, then got a job with Surrey Police, where he was accused of using excessive force.

 

He could now face disciplinary charges over the death of Mr Tomlinson, and could also be the subject of an internal investigation by the Met into how he was allowed to rejoin the force despite having an unresolved disciplinary matter on his record.

 

The married 43 year-old had been due to face a misconduct hearing over the alleged road rage incident, understood to have happened in the late 1990s, but instead retired on medical grounds.

 

A few years later, the father of two rejoined the Met as a civilian computer worker before applying to Surrey Police for a job as a police constable in May 2003.

 

A spokesman for Surrey Police said:

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The pathologist who first ruled that newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died from natural causes at the G20 protest was today said to be unfit to continue practising at a disciplinary hearing.

 

A General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practise Panel yesterday found that Dr Freddy Patel had behaved "irresponsibly" during three other post-mortem examinations.

 

Simon Jackson QC, representing the GMC, told the hearing today that Dr Patel's lack of understanding or ability to recognise his "serious failings" in the cases suggested he could make future errors of judgment.

 

He said Dr Patel's failure to spot marks which suggested a five-year-old girl had been the victim of violence prior to her death "created a potential risk of a loss of crucial evidence".

 

Mr Jackson said the pathologist had a duty to act as a "gatekeeper", adding: "There may be no further opportunity to find and report such findings if the body were to be cremated."

Source: The Independent

 

This guy is the main reason that Tomlinsons's death will go unpunished.

 

Surely they should be taking this information into account now?

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The pathologist who first ruled that newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died from natural causes at the G20 protest was today said to be unfit to continue practising at a disciplinary hearing.

 

A General Medical Council (GMC) Fitness to Practise Panel yesterday found that Dr Freddy Patel had behaved "irresponsibly" during three other post-mortem examinations.

 

Simon Jackson QC, representing the GMC, told the hearing today that Dr Patel's lack of understanding or ability to recognise his "serious failings" in the cases suggested he could make future errors of judgment.

 

He said Dr Patel's failure to spot marks which suggested a five-year-old girl had been the victim of violence prior to her death "created a potential risk of a loss of crucial evidence".

 

Mr Jackson said the pathologist had a duty to act as a "gatekeeper", adding: "There may be no further opportunity to find and report such findings if the body were to be cremated."

Source: The Independent

 

This guy is the main reason that Tomlinsons's death will go unpunished.

 

Surely they should be taking this information into account now?

 

 

It's hardly ground breaking news and im sure Mr Tomlinson was looked at by several Pathologists and not just this one wasnt he?

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No, they came to separate conclusions. That's the whole point of the case. Now-proven-dodgy pathologist says "Just a heart attack, nothing amiss", second pathologist says "Internal bleeding", CPS says "Oh well, if two pathologists disagree, even if one is dodgy, we can't go to court with it".

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