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Fedster

Officers deny misconduct charges following 2008 restraint death of Sean Rigg

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Will 'abuse of process' be raised to halt hearing seven years after inquest jury criticism?.

Sean Rigg: Died in custody

Sean Rigg: Died in custody

Date - 22nd January 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

Five officers have begun their challenge to gross misconduct proceedings involved in the detention of musician Sean Rigg who died in police custody more than 10 years ago.

The Met Police quintet have denied all allegations – following a direction by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – connected to the detainee’s death at Brixton police station on August 21, 2008.

The hearing got underway on Monday almost seven years after an inquest jury criticised the way police restrained Mr Rigg, who had paranoid schizophrenia, before he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

The 40-year-old had earlier been arrested in Balham after reports that he was bare-chested and aiming karate kicks at passers-by.

Police Constables Andrew Birks, Richard Glasson, Matthew Forward, Mark Harratt and Sergeant Paul White are all accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour.

It is alleged that: PC Birks breached standards in relation to duties and responsibilities; PCs Glasson, Forward and Harratt breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity, use of force, abuse of authority and duties and responsibilities; and that Sgt White breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity and duties and responsibilities.

The officers potentially face dismissal over the 2008 death but it is understood that lawyers acting for them could be preparing to raise an “abuse of process” argument to tell the disciplinary panel they cannot get a fair hearing base on the passage of time that has elapsed.

The five have protested their innocence and the case has been going on for so long PC Birks, who has been suspended on full pay since 2014, has retrained as a Church of England priest.

All five appeared at the Met Police misconduct hearing that was also attended by members of Mr Rigg's family including his sister Marcia.

The hearing was told that the four PCs were out on duty in a marked police van when they were called to deal with Mr Rigg.

He ran away when he saw the van, and was eventually restrained in a grass area on the Weir Estate, being pinned down in a prone position for nearly seven minutes.

Around 20 minutes later he was taken into a caged area at Brixton police station, where he collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest.

It is claimed that the constables failed to ensure Mr Rigg's wellbeing because they did not recognise that he was suffering from mental health issues, even though he was partially clothed and threatening passers-by for no obvious reason.

They are also accused of failing to ensure he was unharmed because they did not check updates to the call dispatch system that suggested he may have mental health problems, and did not check his passport details on the police national computer.

PC Harratt assumed the passport was stolen, when in fact it belonged to Mr Rigg.

The four officers and Sgt White all allegedly failed to get Mr Rigg urgent medical help when it became clear that he was seriously ill.

In terms of the restraint, it is claimed that PCs Glasson, Harratt and Forward held the musician in the prone position for an excessive amount of time, during which one or more of them had their weight on his upper body, even after he was handcuffed.

Four of the officers – PCs Glasson, Harratt, Forward and Sgt White – are accused of breaching rules over honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct over evidence they gave to police watchdog investigators and the inquest into Mr Rigg's death.

It is claimed that PCs Glasson and Forward falsely claimed Mr Rigg was moved onto his side when he was held in the prone position; and that they and PC Harratt gave evidence that he was moving his legs and spinning himself around while in the back of the police van despite knowing that this was untrue.

Sgt White incorrectly claimed that he had checked on him in the police van, and changed his evidence to the inquest hearing after CCTV disproved his account.

The 2012 inquest found that Mr Rigg had died from a cardiac arrest, and the jury said that officers had used an unsuitable level of force.

Sgt White was cleared in 2016 of one count of perjury over his inquest evidence, and prosecutors have ruled out bringing any further criminal charges against the five officers.

The misconduct hearing continues today.

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SD

I really think there should be a time limit on how long misconduct can be levelled at officers. This is over a decade!

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Zulu 22

This shows the IOPC for wwhat they are, incompetent and vindictive. No person can expect any true justice after 10 years.

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Officers fail to have misconduct case thrown out in Sean Rigg case

Panel chairman did heavily criticise police watchdog for its failings in the decade-long case.

Officers fail to have misconduct case thrown out in Sean Rigg case

 

Date - 1st February 2019
By - Martin Buhagiar - Police Oracle

 

Five officers involved in the detention of a mentally-ill musician who died in custody have failed in their bid to have misconduct cases against them thrown out.

Sean Rigg, 40, who had schizophrenia, died in Brixton police station in 2008 after being restrained.

Police Constables Andrew Birks, Richard Glasson, Matthew Forward, Mark Harratt and Sergeant Paul White, tried to get disciplinary proceedings dismissed primarily because it had taken too long to bring their cases.

But a Metropolitan Police misconduct panelruled today they could face a fair hearing, despite the passage of time and their memories of the events failing, and ordered the cases to continue.

Panel chairman Commander Julian Bennett did, however, use his decision to dismiss their applications to heavily criticise the police watchdog for its failings in the decade-long case.

He said the delays caused by the Independent Office for Police  Conduct, as its predecessor the Independent Police Complaints Commission, risked "undermining public confidence and bringing it into disrepute".

Mr Bennett said the watchdog had been "highly incompetent" and its first investigation was "significantly overshadowed by inexcusable and unjustifiable delay".

"Members of the public are likely to be aghast," he added.

Mr Rigg was arrested in Balham, south-west London, in August 2008 after he was allegedly seen bare-chested while aiming karate kicks at members of the public for no apparent reason.

He was restrained in the prone position by three officers for more than seven minutes, and later died at the station after suffering a heart attack.

Despite Mr Rigg's behaviour, it is alleged that the constables did not recognise he was experiencing an episode of mental ill health and therefore failed to ensure his wellbeing.

All five officers are accused of misconduct over Mr Rigg's arrest and treatment in custody.

Glasson, Forward, Harratt and White are further accused of giving dishonest accounts of what happened.

At the 2012 inquest into Mr Rigg's death, jurors found that officers had used "unsuitable" force against him.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against any of them, other than one count of perjury against White.

But he was cleared of the charge in 2016, having been accused of lying to the inquest into Mr Rigg's death.

Birks has been suspended on full pay since May 2014 and White since July 2015, while the other three have been on restricted duties.

All five officers deny the misconduct charges.

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Misconduct claims officers lied about Sean Rigg death-in-custody case dropped

Lawyers for Met Police trio successfully argue 'no evidence' of dishonest accounts.

Sean Rigg: Death in custody

Sean Rigg: Death in custody

Date - 13th February 2019
By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

 

Three officers accused of lying about the movements of a mentally-ill musician who died in custody have had their gross misconduct claims against them thrown out.

Police constables Mark Harratt, Richard Glasson and Matthew Forward – involved in the detention of Sean Rigg – were said to have allegedly given false accounts that the schizophrenia sufferer had spun himself around in the back of a police van.

But the claims were dropped this afternoon after their lawyers successfully argued that there was no evidence they had lied.

A separate claim that PC Harratt failed to check the police national computer to make sure there were reasonable grounds to suspect Mr Rigg's passport was stolen was also dropped.

The trio and two other officers – PC Andrew Birks and Sergeant Paul White – still face a raft of other misconduct allegations.

Mr Rigg, 40, was arrested in Balham, south-west London, in August 2008 after he was allegedly seen bare-chested while aiming karate kicks at members of the public for no apparent reason.

He was restrained in the prone position by three officers for more than seven minutes, and later died at Brixton police station after suffering a heart attack.

Despite Mr Rigg's behaviour, it is alleged that the constables did not recognise he was experiencing an episode of mental ill health and therefore failed to ensure his wellbeing.

The five officers are accused of a string of failings in the way he was restrained and treated while in custody, and all except PC Birks are accused of lying about what happened afterwards.

PCs Harratt, Glasson and Forward had all claimed that while handcuffed Mr Rigg had spun himself around in the back of the police van.

They were each accused of giving a dishonest account to the police watchdog and to the inquest into his death.

But on Wednesday a Met Police misconduct panel threw out the charges against them.

Kevin Baumber for PC Forward told the hearing there was no evidence to show that he could not and did not make the movements.

PC Forward filmed himself moving around in the back of a van in the way described, and suffered grazing to his elbows; similar injuries were found on Mr Rigg.

William Emlyn-Jones for PC Glasson told the panel: "This allegation is based exclusively on the assertion that it simply can't be true, and it can."

The misconduct panel, led by chairman Commander Julian Bennett, agreed that the evidence was "extremely tenuous" and found no case to answer.

Earlier in the proceedings on Tuesday, an expert witness for the force changed his evidence and another's statement was ruled inadmissible because they could not attend the hearing in person.

Animator Henry Mountain initially told the hearing that it was "highly unlikely" that Mr Rigg would have been able to spin around in the way the constables described, but changed his mind when shown the video of PC Forward doing so.

Medical evidence relating to the claims was ruled inadmissible because former Home Office pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt is no longer able to work, and could not attend the hearing in person to be cross-examined.

Misconduct proceedings relating to claims over the restraint of Mr Rigg, the medical help he received and officers' accounts of what happened continue.

Earlier in the month the five unsuccessfully challenged to have the misconduct cases against them all thrown out.

At the 2012 inquest into Mr Rigg's death, jurors found that officers had used "unsuitable" force against him.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against any of them, other than one count of perjury against Sgt White.

But he was cleared of the charge in 2016, having been accused of lying to the inquest into Mr Rigg's death.

PC Birks has been suspended on full pay since May 2014 and Sgt White since July 2015, while the other three have been on restricted duties.

All five officers deny the misconduct charges.

https://www.policeoracle.com/news/staff_association_news/2019/Feb/13/Claims-officers-lied-about-Sean-Rigg-death-in-custody-case-dropped_100428.html

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Zulu 22

I should think so, this case was flawed and should never have been brought. 

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Reasonable Man
I should think so, this case was flawed and should never have been brought. 

How do you know? Have you ever inside information?

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Zulu 22
10 hours ago, Reasonable Man said:


How do you know? Have you ever inside information?

Give it a rest. The time alone would prevent any justice and the CPS had already decided there was insufficient evidence. Did you say it was light outside, let me have a look to check.

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Reasonable Man
Give it a rest. The time alone would prevent any justice and the CPS had already decided there was insufficient evidence. Did you say it was light outside, let me have a look to check.

But the matters that have been dropped have not been dropped because of time - there is no statute of limitations on these matters so you can’t just make up that it’s unfair.
They also still face ‘a raft’ of other misconduct cases - so no problem with the time taken over those.
The fact that CPS has not proceeded with criminal charges is irrelevant to misconduct hearings - different matters and different burden of proof. As someone who claims to have represented officers at misconduct hearings I thought you would have known that.

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Zulu 22
1 hour ago, Reasonable Man said:


But the matters that have been dropped have not been dropped because of time - there is no statute of limitations on these matters so you can’t just make up that it’s unfair.
They also still face ‘a raft’ of other misconduct cases - so no problem with the time taken over those.
The fact that CPS has not proceeded with criminal charges is irrelevant to misconduct hearings - different matters and different burden of proof. As someone who claims to have represented officers at misconduct hearings I thought you would have known that.

Of course I know that and there is the point of  Justice delayed is Justice denied. Evidence from over 10 years ago is so open to challenge on its correctness.  Misconduct hearings do appear to have become a law unto themselves in many case. There is certainly one legal principle "Estoppell" which is relevant to evidence and justice denied. The principle is open to debate, and a debate that could go on for hours. This principle was successfully used in the debacle around Injury Pensions and Section 32 when many Police Authorities, unlawfully, tried to cancel Injury Pensions for officers reaching the age of 65years, and also to do reviews of officers when they had a certificate from the FMO stating that they would not be further reviewed.

It is a disgraceful state of affairs when they are taking over 10 years to bring a misconduct discipline hearing.

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