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High Court backs IOPC as force agrees to 'comply with statutory duty'


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The City of London police force has failed in an attempt to block disciplinary action against an officer who was accused of clubbing a student over the head and causing a life-threatening brain injury.


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There are a few points about this case which give me cause for concern.

Firstly the incident happe3ned in 2010, that is 8 years ago. How can any evidence be produced for the prosecution or for the defence which will not be tainted by time.

Secondly the Judges in their submission stated  Quote "But at a hearing at the high court in London, Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham accepted the IOPC’s case that it was up to a disciplinary panel, not the watchdog, to decide whether a case had merit."

If you take that a little further and convert it into Criminal Court proceedings or concern, Could you not argue that it is up to a Criminal Court, not the CPS, to decide whether a case had merit.  The IOPC is getting away with murder because they are using the balance of probabilities rather than beyond all reasonable doubt. 

The injury, by implication must have been severe, but we do not know how the officer came to inflict those injuries, or the actions of the injured man. I cannot see how a completely innocent person could have been in a position to be hit over the head by a Police Officer. I do remember being told never to hit someone over the head with a staff, batton, club, or whatever, but to hit the shoulder.  In a public disorder situation that is difficult to achieve with the head being inches from the shoulder. 

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I'm too lazy to google this but I was sure an initial investigation either by PSD or IPCC concluded that they couldn't determine if he was struck by a police baton or an object thrown by another demonstrator. I don't think they even identified an officer who may have been responsible from what I can remember, unless things have changed. I can't see this going anywhere and the fact it happened 8 years ago shows what a sham our justice system and police disciplinary process is.

Edited by mike88
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I’ve not read the decision (I can’t find it online) but this appears to be confirmation of the ridiculous status quo where absolutely hopeless cases that will never get proven are put to hearings. The result being that officers lives are put on hold and are subject to huge stress, Complainants are given an unrealistic expectation, and matters get strung out for much longer than needed.

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City of London told it must act in excessive force claim over 2010 'clubbing' incident.

Outbreak of violence: Officers detain demonstrators at the 2010 incident in Whitehall

Outbreak of violence: Officers detain demonstrators at the 2010 incident in Whitehall

Date - 16th October 2018
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle


An attempt to argue the Independent Office for Police Conduct was “undermining public confidence” in the police by ordering forces to bring too many officers before gross misconduct hearings has failed a legal test.

The High Court rejected claims by the City of London Police of “widespread concern” from forces across England and Wales that the IOPC was directing them to bring hearings with no chance of success.

The IOPC emerged victorious in a ruling that determined it was up to a disciplinary panel, not the watchdog itself, to decide whether a case had merit.

The legal battleground between the force and the watchdog revolves around an incident at a demonstration which occurred eight years ago when violence broke out between police and a small number of 10,000 protesters in Whitehall, central London.

The force attempted to persuade a judge the IOPC had overstepped its role when it instigated proceedings against PC Mark Alston, who is accused of using excessive force against 20-year-old Alfie Meadows in December 2010.

The ruling last week means the force has failed in an attempt to block disciplinary action against the officer who was accused of clubbing a student over the head and causing a life-threatening brain injury.

Now the London force must accede to Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham’s request that a disciplinary panel determine “whether or not the case is proven”.

A City of London spokesman told Police Oracle: “We acknowledge the decision of the High Court of Justice and we will comply with our statutory duty to hold a misconduct hearing in relation to this matter, as directed.”

In a skeleton argument put before the judges last week, lawyers representing Mr Meadows said their client had been battling many years for justice as too few incidents of police misconduct were properly investigated, and appeared to be an attempt by the force to “turn the clock back even further”.

The court heard that forces were trying to shield themselves from accountability, undermining the principles of truth and accountability – essential for the public to have confidence in policing in the UK.

Representatives for the City of London argued the case against PC Alston was “hopeless”, given the evidence available, arguing the case had broader significance because it reflected “widespread concern” from police forces that the IOPC was directing them to bring gross misconduct hearings with no chance of success, “thereby damaging public and police officer confidence in the police complaints system”.

They told the court that the action could not be in the public interest or in the interests of maintaining public confidence in and the reputation of the police service.

The IOPC told the court it should be for the disciplinary panel to decide whether the case had merit, arguing that the courts have repeatedly emphasised the focused nature of the watchdog’s function in this regard – which must be carefully distinguished from making a decision on the substance of the allegations.

It stated: “The latter task falls not to the IOPC but to the relevant misconduct panel if a case to answer is identified.”

The ‘clubbing’ incident occurred at a demonstration when violence broke out between police and protesters.

Mr Meadows, a second year philosophy student at the University of Middlesex, needed emergency surgery to save his life.

In April 2012 a jury at Kingston crown court failed to reach a verdict on whether Mr Meadows, and four others, were guilty of violent disorder at the demo.

After more than two days of deliberations, jurors could failed to agree. He was subsequently cleared.

Michael Mansfield QC, who defended Mr Meadows, criticised police tactics on the day of demo as being "totally counter-productive".

He said: "They [protestors] had to wait hour after hour. If you put a ring around a number of people, whatever their intention, they're going to get anxious ... They feel trapped, imprisoned – anxiety, irritation, frustration, anger, hostility. Do you see that escalation?"

Mr Mansfield added that some of the reports recalling the level of violence used against police were a "gross exaggeration of what was going on."

Mr Meadows's supporters claimed the 2012 trial was an attempt to silence legitimate protest by pursuing the victim of an assault rather than investigating.

On the High Court ruling, an IOPC spokesman told Police Oracle: “It will now be a matter for a panel to determine whether or not the case is proven.”

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  • Fedster + pinned and unpinned this topic

As the pictures show, it was a perfectly peaceful demonstration in which the Police over reacted. 5 appeared at court, 4 wrongly convicted and 1 correctly acquitted.:nono:

The Police had daubed themselves with painted and headed a few bricks just for effect. Sometimes I wonder why we/you bother. I mean which peaceful protester even thinks of turning up at a demo armed with paint, and rocks. Perhaps a good indicator is that the complainant was represented by Michael Mansfield.

The IOPC are showing that every officer accused of a disciplinary offence has a lot to fear from their independence.  It seems that they are intent on a witch hunt in every case. Now it is a fact of life that some officers will fall beneath the standards required from Police Officers, but it has to be acknowledged that many  complaints are fixsacious  and frivolous, and are often encouraged by the Lawyers as a form of defence tool to try and distract from the evidence. Those making false complaints are never pursued and brought to justice.

Perhaps we could hope that the discipline panel will be a sensible one.


Edited by Zulu 22
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