Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Ian Tomlinson decision is a travesty of justice

The CPS have announced today that there will be no prosecution of the police officer caught on film striking Ian Tomlinson in connection with his death during the G20 protests last April. Mr Tomlinson was walking away from the police with his hands in his pockets when the assault took place. I blogged about this incident at the time.

There are various reasons given for there not being any prosecution. Firstly, they claim that because there were two post-mortems performed on Mr Tomlinson that prosecutors would not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was a connection between the assault and his death. The first post-mortem found it was a heart attack, the second one found internal bleeding was a cause. The CPS also ruled out a prosecution for assault because too much time has elapsed. Charges need to be brought within six months. They also ruled out charges of ABH and misconduct in public office.

So the result of a 15 month long investigation into the death of a man who was just moments before caught on camera being assaulted by a police officer, where until the filmed evidence was produced the police appeared to close ranks and deny even that had happened is that nobody will be prosecuted.

To say that this is outrageous it an understatement. The pathologist used in the first post-mortem has been removed from the Home Office register of accredited pathologists and is under two separate investigations regarding his conduct. Surely given this, the CPS could have a reasonable chance of discrediting the initial post-mortem and hence enhancing the credibility of the second one and therefore a chance at least of establishing in law if there is a link between the assault and the death?

Also, the reason it is more than 6 months regarding the assault charge is because the CPS have taken 15 months. This is an utter travesty for Mr Tomlinson's family. They have been denied justice by a system that is surely now utterly discredited when it comes to investigating suspicious deaths where police are suspected of being involved.

We cannot go on like this. The public have to have faith in the police and faith that if those wearing the uniforms transgress, that they will face the same consequences as everybody else would.

If you think that I am being unfair, ask yourself this. If this had been the other way round and on that day Mr Tomlinson had assaulted a police officer from behind who had died a few minutes later, do you honestly think that 15 months later he would have discovered there would be no charges at all against him?

No, neither do I.


redarsedbaboon said...

The out-of-time excuse is positively Berlusconian. If ever there was a case where justice being *seen* to be done was as important as it being done at all, it was this one. Ridiculous.

JuliaM said...

I cannot believe my eyes. It's almost as if someone in government is doing the best they can to bring the public's faith in the police and the justice system as low as it can possibly go.

What the hell is wrong with this country?

TTC said...

I think all of us - bloggers and non-bloggers, politically minded and non-politically minded - are so angry over this that there is a very real possibility of us all coming together as a voice of humanity and marching to say 'this will happen no more'...

If such a march - and in dedication to Ian Tomlinson's life - were to take place, I would do my duty as a human being and make sure to be there.


Rohan said...

I politely disagree with the conclusion people are drawing.

I've read through the reports and as far as I can see the CPS system has worked the same here as it has done in many other cases.

Please do by all means protest against the CPS' way of dealing with prosecutions, criteria etc. However I can't personally see any evidence that this is a cover up etc etc.

This happens every day to many families where the suspects aren't a policeman, and in fact the very CPS practices that have arguably incorrectly prevented a trial are the same ones many police have such distain for.

Anonymous said...

How absolutely disgusting!! The Police seem to be a law unto themselves, they treat the general public like we are all criminals. When is this country going to get their act together?

Denny said...

There were in fact three post-mortems, including a third one which was on behalf of the officer and his legal counsel - which found the same as the second one, the shoving led to the death.

David said...

The DPP should resign. The conflicting evidence should have been put to a jury. The fact that the police employed an incompetent doctor (now under censure from the British Medical Council) should not be used to let the police get off scot free. Nor does it explain the DPP's inexplicable failure to bring a lesser charge.

Anonymous said...

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer doesn't believe in the old maxim:

"Justice needs to be done and Justice needs to be seen to be done".

His policy is, "the police are always right and everyone else is already a crook or will be a crook in the future".

Resign....... you predictable failure.

redarsedbaboon said...

I'm reliably informed (by a criminal solicitor with 25 years' experience) that there was never any prospect of a manslaughter charge, and that had one been put it would have been the shakiest manslaughter charge the CPS had gone with in years. But he thinks that lesser charges certainly should have been put.

Julia Tomlinson said...


PS, that nice blogger Mark Wadsworth drew a picture of me. I bet it only took him about ten minutes.