Beyond Reasonable Doubt – Part II


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I start to write this post with some trepidation, as I know that I’m likely to get some stick for it. However I think it important that some points be raised. I am a Criminal Defence Solicitor, and on a daily basis I represent people accused with offences some trivial, some like Murder and Manslaughter very serious. I take my job seriously and approach each case I have questioning the evidence put before me on both sides.

In any criminal case evidence is the key, can the CPS prove the case against the client. Has the client got evidence that can cast doubt on the prosecution evidence. I am in cases where my client tells me he is not guilty striving to prove that. Not guilty is not innocent, but it does mean that the prosecution have not proven their case beyond reasonable doubt, or in the more usual terms “so the jury can be sure of guilt”.

I do not think the system is without fault. What I do think is that it is the system we have to work within. Until someone can show a system that works better, and implements it this is what we have. I accept in full there are times when the system makes a decision that is wrong, but remain convinced that for the most part it gets it right.

Today, less than a week after the public became outraged about the Terry verdict, a jury of twelve independent people found PC Harwood not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson. As happened last week, my twitter feed went mad and expressed outrage and indignation at the verdict. The outrage and indignation reached fever pitch when it became clear that the court had not been told about PC Harwood’s disciplinary record and that he had a number of allegations made against him. Fever pitch reached hysteria when it disclosed that Harwood had previously had an allegation made against him which was not examined when as he retired on medical grounds and then re-applied to another force and transferred back to the Metropolitan Police.

People I follow and thousands that I don’t follow on Twitter made statements about thuggish behaviour, animal, bully and so forth. Many thought that justice had not been served, many suggested that Harwood had somehow managed to use the system to his advantage. An immediate clarion call was put forward to demonstrate outside of Scotland Yard at the verdict. The consensus seemed to be that Harwood had quite simply gotten away with murder.

I really do not know what happened on the day Mr Tomlinson died, I do not know what evidence the inquest jury were provided, I do not know what evidence was put before the jury at Harwood’s criminal trial and I do not know what went through the minds of the twelve jurors when they were asked to decide so that they were sure that the actions of PC Harwood resulted in the death of Ian Tomlinson. Like everybody else I have seen the video footage, I have read the news and read the commentary. With the exception of the video footage which I am sure would have been played to the jury all the news stories and commentary do not amount to evidence. It is only when you have the benefit of that evidence that anyone could rightly make an informed decision.

I think that some of the amazement and hysteria was generated by two things. That a previous jury in a Coroners Inquest had made a ruling that Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed, and that the jury were not told that PC Harwood had previously faced allegations of misconduct whilst in uniform.

A Coroners Inquest is quite different from a criminal trial. A criminal trial is adversarial by nature, the evidence is presented and tested by the lawyers. A Coroners Inquest is inquisitorial, there is only limited questioning of the evidence presented. The rules of what is admissible as evidence are less strictly enforced, for example hearsay evidence is allowed, and to a lesser extent personal opinion can be part of the evidence.

Normally, a coroners court must only be satisfied on the balance of probabilities but in cases of unlawful killing the jury must be certain beyond reasonable doubt or so that they are sure. The same standard as in a criminal court. The Coroner will direct the jury as to the available verdicts and leave it to the jury to reach a verdict often with a number of possibilities. The verdict in this case was unlawful killing as a result of the actions of PC Harwood.

As a result of the inquest verdict, the CPS reviewed the case and a decision was taken to prosecute Harwood for Manslaughter. There are two types of manslaughter and as a result a number of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

In brief, voluntary manslaughter occurs whereby someone has killed another but there are reasons for this such as a total loss of control, abnormality of the mind and suicide pact.

Involuntary manslaughter is where a person kills another but does so without the intention of killing or causing GBH. The offence of involuntary manslaughter is then broken down into two further types, specifically caused by gross negligence; or by an unlawful or dangerous act.

I assume that the CPS charged on the basis of involuntary manslaughter by way of an unlawful or dangerous act. In doing so the CPS would need to prove that the death of Tomlinson was as a result of Harwood’s unlawful act, that a sober and reasonable person would realise that the act would cause some physical harm whether or not the defendant realised it. The CPS need to prove all three elements to the jury and the jury need to be sure of the elements. Not, quite possibly or was maybe, but beyond reasonable doubt.

The fact that the jury did not find this does not mean that Tomlinson did not die as a result of Harwood’s actions. Simply that they cannot be certain that he did.

Much, has been made of the fact that Harwood had a number of allegations of use of excessive force made by members of the public. This may well be the case, but as far as I am aware they were only allegations. They were not substantiated claims. There may well be reasons to question why they were not investigated and why he was still a police officer. That said, the allegations were not put before the court. There are rules and procedures to put bad character before the court. Very often the CPS will apply to have a conviction put before the court to show a propensity to act in a particular way. Less often they will apply to have other evidence of what is called “reprehensible behaviour” as evidence of a persons bad character. This is far more difficult to prove and is often resisted by the defence, which leads to a trial within a trial as to other potentially criminal behaviour. Courts and Judges do not like it, as it clouds issues relating to the trial. If Harwood had convictions for violence I am sure they would have been put before the jury. The fact that he didn’t and there were only allegations means the court did not hear about them. In my opinion, rightly so. I do not like the issue of guilty or not guilty being decided on the basis of an allegation or what a defendant may or may not have done in the past.

The issues of previous allegations were not for the court in the trial. The fact that there were allegations that remained outstanding when Harwood re-applied to be a police officer is a matter that will need to be examined at a later date. It is a matter for the later IPCC to determine at the hearing later in the year. Whether Harwood was a fit and proper person to be a police officer was also not an issue that the jury was asked to consider, and rightly so. I respect the right of any person to have an opinion and to voice that opinion.

At the end of the day, a jury found Harwood not guilty of manslaughter. They could not be certain that his actions had resulted in the death of Tomlinson. The decision was clearly not liked but that was the decision of the court. If we are to have a system where we place our trust in twelve independent persons we must stand by that system when it gives us verdicts we like and verdicts we don’t. The decision of the jury today was that he was not guilty, how they reached that decision we will never know as they cannot talk about their deliberations. It is always a heavy burden to carry as a juror, the fate of an individual rests on their decision. The fact that two juries can hear what would appear to be very similar evidence and reach what appears to be differing verdicts is as much down I think to the effect their decision will have as to the evidence they are presented, and the questions that they were asked to decide.

Two final points I would like to make. Harwood may be and may have been a bad police officer and caused the death of another man. Whatever is said my view is that the police do a very difficult job in what can be very difficult circumstances. I am not anti or pro police, my job asks me to question what they put before me. However, the vast majority of police officers are not made in the same mould as him.

Finally and importantly; what happened to Ian Tomlinson was and remains a tragic loss of life. Apparently blameless of any of the madness and criminal behaviour around him on the day he was pushed, he later died. I have every genuine sympathy for his family and cannot for a moment begin to understand how they felt on that day, and on every single day thereafter. I truly hope that one day they have some closure and are able to move on from this. For what it is worth, I wish them well.

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Author: crimsolicitor

I am a Criminal Defence Lawyer, committed to providing the best defence I can for those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay...

39 thoughts on “Beyond Reasonable Doubt – Part II”

    1. As I say you and everyone else are entitled to your view. Personally, I think you are very wrong. There are a few bad officers, but there are a few bad people in every job and every walk of life. It is a shame that the actions of a few get highlighted over the actions of the many.

      1. The problem is that the bad officers are not regarded as bad by their colleagues, who protect bad officers, re-employ bad officers, conceal evidence about bad officers and generally act as though bad officers are models for the police to follow. Why did other police officers re-employ this man? Why did other police officers show any concern about his behaviour? Why did the met conceal witnesses from the IPCC? Because there are two sorts of police officers: bad ones, and ones who are intensely relaxed about the bad ones.

  1. Excellent article. However, whilst your point about ‘the least worst system’ (to paraphrase) is accepted, the same cannot be applied to a Police service trained to protect the priveleged and do what they will, often with impunity, to everyone else.

  2. “People I follow and thousands that I don’t follow on Twitter made statements about thuggish behaviour, animal, bully and so forth…The consensus seemed to be that Harwood had quite simply gotten away with murder.”

    As one of those who rightly called Harwood a thug, I certainly was not accusing him of murder. Was there really a “consensus”?

    1. As I tweeted to you, I certainly didn’t suggest you had called him a murderer, I’m foolhardy not stupid. My view was that people did think he had gotten away with murder. My interpretation of what I saw, no more or less. I think if you took a poll of the man on the Clapham Omnibus then that’s the view you would get.

      1. Having also followed Twitter closely yesterday, I’d say that the majority of views were not implying that Mr. Tomlinson was murdered, but that he was unlawfully killed and that PC Harwood had not been properly held to account for that. Had the matter been dealt with correctly from the outset, I suspect he would have been found guilty on a lesser charge that would, perhaps, have been less contentious than the charge of manslaughter. However, the actions of others (including serving police officers, a pathologist, and other parties) clouded what could have been a straightforward case and have left us with this ungodly mess where nobody feels that justice has been properly served.

  3. Dozens of deaths associated with police conduct every year, how many successful prosecutions? In this case perhaps the evidence was not strong enough – however it is clear that odds of successful prosecution favour police defendants more than other defendants. Some bad apples spoil the barrel? No, failure to deal properly with bad apples spoils the barrel.

  4. I think that a system which allows police officers to kill innocent bystanders without facing any criminal penalty, is a system which encourages bad police officers and discourages good.

  5. >”At the end of the day, a jury found Harwood not guilty of manslaughter.”

    The problem with this is that the initial investigation was corrupt, and the police issued a wide range of false information on the cause of Mr Tomlinson’s death, which could noe be responsible for reasonable (but wrong) doubt on causation.

    From what I can gather, it appears to me that it is possible that the judge did not properly direct the jury on what is lawful or unlawful force, but I am waiting/hoping to see a transcript of the directions given. Harwood, and just about every police commentator, are adamant that force is lawful if the level of it is ‘reasonable’ but this misses out the step that the person using it must also have a belief that there is a lawful and necessary reason to use force at all. It is unlawful to just go around inflicting ‘reasonable’ force on anyone who happens to be in your way (except on children). I’m concerened that the judge did not address this false interpretation. Radio 4 reported today that the direction given was Harwood was innocent if he ‘acted reasonably’, which is a bit of a gloss/muddle.

    Thirdly, there is video of evidence of Harwood carrying out similar pushes on at least two other bystanders on the same day. It seems this was not put to him, even though it would be relevant to any claimed honest belief that force was necessary in Tomlinson’s case. So it is far from clear that the jury ‘heard all the evidence’, as some are claiming.

    1. I cannot comment on the points you raise. I dont have all the evidence and wouldn’t comment in order to allow any action taken to have fair hearing. I simply called it, as I saw it on the basis of my experience of criminal proceedings

    2. My understanding is that to convict there is a requirement to show both that Mr. Tomlinson died of injuries sustained as the result of being struck pushed to the ground by PC Harwood and that that the strike and/or push on Mr. Tomlinson was unlawful. Speaking as a non expert, I would imagine that it would be difficult for a jury to see the attack on Mr. Tomlinson as reasonable and proportionate and therefore lawful even if the judge did not direct the jury.

      This leaves the evidence of Dr. Patel, discredited as he was, to create doubt as to the cause of death…

      I also would be very keen to see the transcript.

  6. In amongst all reporting and outrage, your article provides real insight and balance. Thanks for taking the time to put pen to paper. Like you I wish the Tomlinson family well and trust that in the future they find closure.

  7. A well written balanced piece.

    Peter Alison… That’s like me saying all scout leaders only join to abuse young children. The vast majority of people in all walks of life, including the Police, are decent people. Some are not.

  8. What it really means is that confidence in the police, but also in the justice system has again been undermined. Without knowing all the evidence, I cannot understand that a man who retires on medically grounds can be recruited soon after, even as a civilian. If the police keeps tab on us, it should have known about Hardwood.
    I cannot understand how reasonable force can be used when Ian Tolimson had apparently his hands in his pockets. Where was the threat ?
    I cannot understand why nobody wondered whether he would have died, on this day and at that minute if he had not been pushed to the ground by Harwood. The justice which is being served has nothing to do with what people understand as justice, which has really more to do with fairness.

  9. I agree with you that thankfully there appear to be very few Police Officers made in the mould of Mr Harwood, What i find absolutely reprehensible is the fact that whilst those previous allegations against him, 1 or 2 of which were made by colleagues, are just that, allegations, they only remain as alleged wrongdoings because Mr Harwood was able to resign his position prior to having to justify his actions and have those allegations proved or not.

    That is a situation which should not be allowed to happen again, our Police force by and large have a thankless task, made more arduous by red tape, verifiable targets, and our own rights, but it is absolutely correct that we should have checks and balances in place to ensure that over zealous and inappropriate/unlawful behaviour by any serving officer is weedled out, and kept out.

    Mr Harwood has, with these revelations today, done as much harm to the relationship between the British public and its Police force as anything i can recently recall, we can only hope that he isn’t permitted to escape the disciplinary procedure for a second time.

  10. “The fact that the jury did not find this does not mean that Tomlinson did not die as a result of Harwood’s actions. Simply that they cannot be certain that he did.” – what did he die of then Sherlock? suddenly struck down by a dose of the bird flu? alien invisible laser beams? tripped over a bit of star dust?

    i have no problem with you presenting an argument that the legal system and justice should take precedence over much media-led hysteria. I do take issue with much of your gloss as to why Mr PC Harwood has managed, as usual amongst the 1,433 deaths in the last 25 years or so when citizens meet the police, to walk free when one of those citizens winds up dead.

    You refute the “allegations” yet the IPCC are remarkably inept at finding fault, he left before one disciplinary could be held, the TSG are notoriously boisterous (if I may be so senstive) when they’re let out of their kennels (and believe you me I know how people like Harwood “police” things). The difficult circumstances you describe are often, as on that day, largely due to the actions of the police in attacking peaceful protestors and becoming very heavy handed very easily and quickly.

  11. One thing that I’m fairly certain of is that if it was Mr. Tomlinson caught on camera sneaking up behind a cooper, hitting him with a stick, then pushing him over, with the copper dying moments later, Mr Tomlinson would’ve been tossed in a cell within five minutes, held on remand until his trail which would’ve been no more than a few months away and he would likely have been found guilty.

    The coppers with him that day, the coppers that investigated the act and his superiors have all done their best to get him off with it.

    All in my no professional opinion of course 😉

  12. Thank you for this. This is the second incidence this week, the ther being the Michaela McAreavy case in Mauritius, of a well publicised trial of the highest level of seriousness producing a publicly contentious acquittal. In both cases the standard of proof was not met. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is a cornerstone of the court system and is simultaneously its greatest strengh and worst failing; for the most part the public accept this.

    You quite rightly assert that unsubstantiated claims of a defendant’s prior misconduct should not be presented to a jury. That the jury was not informed, however, that Dr. Patel had been suspended twice by the GMC for botching post mortem examinations and had been removed from the Home Office list of forensic pathologists seems, to an ordinary citizen, nothing short of astonishing. That this discredited coroner was contradicted by three other forensic pathologists in good standing, or, more importantly, that he contradicted them, must have been the major factor in creating the element of doubt in the minds of the jurors. One can assume that the judge instructed the jurors that if there was a doubt as to the cause of death, then they must aquit.

    In the McAreavy case, suspicions of police brutality effectively caused the case for the prosecution to fail. In the Tomlinson case, the video of the incident clearly showed the victim suffering an act of brutality which offended the many people’s sense of natural justice. The fact that doubt as to the cause of this man’s death was created by the most unreliable of witnesses is infuriating. That the jury were not informed of this unreliablity is mystifying and It is this element that I, for one, would like to understand fully.

    1. For me that’s where the element of doubt occurred. I.e the cause of Ian Tomlinson’s death.

      Incidentally, Dr Patel is a Pathologist and not a Coroner.

      1. Thanks, Mark H, you’re quite right, a case of confusing my terminolgy I’m afraid. I’m just amazed that more hasn’t been made of this and that the media are concentrating on unsubstantiated claims of prior wrongdoing. I can’t help but think there’s an unhealthy ‘no smoke without fire’ bandwagon here. To me, the judge’s direction of the jury and the ruled inadmissability of fully substantiated information that may well have discredited Dr. Patel as a reliable witness is of much greater concern. I’m looking forward to seeing the transcript.

      2. However I do have one other concern. It was part of his defence that he held an honest belief that he was entitled to use reasonable force (a potentially valid defence.) IMO this did make the previous allegations against him relevant, and by running this defence he should have been held to have discarded his shield. If his only defence was lack of causation, the previous allegations would not have been relevant.

  13. I would like to thank you for this balanced and reasoned article. I note too, that you are a defence solicitor and therefore have no axe to grind for the police.

    It seems to me that people are completely losing sight of the fact that it was a JURY who found PC Harwood not guilty and not a panel of his peers in the police service. We, as outsiders, will never know all of the evidence that was presented to the jury and therefore, who are we to make comment as to the guilt or otherwise of PC Harwood?

    There is much being made of the verdict of the jury from the Coroner’s Court and that at the Crown Court. Of course, there is also a world of difference between the purpose and function of a Coroner’s Court and that of the Crown Court but again, those baying for the blood of PC Harwood and indeed, it seems to me, every other serving police officer, choose to ignore this fact. Or maybe they are simply ignorant of the differences between these two courts.

    Why must these nasty, vitriolic, anti-establishment thugs shout scream and call all police officers thugs, murderers and the like? 99% of police officers do a fabulous job against very difficult odds and they put their lives on the line every single day. However, this fact is conveniently brushed aside by those who simply want to shout and scream, generally behind the anonymity of Twitter or the like or if in public, from behind a “hoody” and mask of some description.

    PC Harwood has been found not guilty. That is the description of a jury of 12 good men and true. Accept it.

    1. Nicky, I’m far from thinking that all police officers are thugs.

      But the fact is, that I’ve been on multiple protests in very large crowds in London, and the only times I’ve ever felt afraid have been whenever the Met Police in their riot gear show up. Because you know that when they do, violence ensues.

      This is by contrast with the many protests in crowds large and small I’ve taken part in, in Scotland – where my impression is, the kind of “The general public are the enemy!” attitude we see from the Metropolitan Police, hasn’t taken control.

      Good leadership is part of this. Police feeling like a part of the community, not the enemies of the community, is another.

      But quite frankly when you see what a thug like Simon Harwood was allowed to get away with, and how the CPS and the police delayed the prosecution until the lesser verdicts of violence couldn’t be brought against him – how the various stories the police told about what happened were shown to be false by video evidence – why then, the good men and women of the Metropolitan Police – and I’m sure they exist – have been overwhelmed by a culture of thuggishness where violence towards members of the public is simply a perk of the job.

  14. I have long argued that every case such as this should be put before a court for the public to decide; rather than the more common cover-up or ‘internal investigation’.

    It was not good that the CPS tried not to have this aired in court and only the coroner’s verdict finally twisted the arm of the CPS.

    Having put it before 12 members of the public it is then for them to decide and one accept their decision. One cannot laud the verdicts one likes and howl down ones one does not.

    The jury decided that this polcieman acted in a way that is acceptable to them, a way they are happy for the police to act.: and they are happy to accept that his violent attack on an innocent member of the public did not cause his death.

    What concerns me is why there were not other charges brought, such as various levels of assault that were clearly proveable by the various video recordings. If it had been a normal member of the public I am sure there would have been a string of charges with Manslaughter at the top.

    Could it be, therefore, that the CPS feel it is fine for police officers to make unwarranted attacks on members of the public, attacks which would see a normal member of the public handed down a considerable prison sentence.

    It is not a good day for the police. Support and respect crumbles; and I suspect these will take a bigger hit because of the not guilty verdict than they would have if a guilty verdict had been brought in and the public felt confident that the police were not out of control or held to be, in some ways, above the very laws they are supposed to be upholding.

  15. I also agree yours is a very useful contribution. I can see why the CPS were pressured into bringing the prosecution for manslaughter becasuse of the inquest finding. B ut I did wonder at the time if they would have had a more realistic prospect of conviction had they charged assault or GBH or something more proportionate to the evidence. What do you think?

  16. Over the years, going back to the ’70’s, I’ve witnessed what can only be described as ‘thuggish’ and completely unwarranted behaviour by members of our police forces and it appears to me that during times of ‘social unrest’ be that either marches, protests or football matches, that the police feel it is within their power to use force indiscriminately.

    I myself was subjected to what I considered to be an unwarranted attack when I was sitting waiting for my friends husband to collect us from a local bus stop after the 2004 England vs France Euro Football match.

    The police had decided to force local young fans to the end of the town approximately 150 metres from where I sat (they were not kettled just prevented from reaching the centre of the town which for many was were their buses left). A young couple were sitting chatting quietly at the bus stop a few metres away from me, when all of a sudden riot police started screaming towards us very fast. It was quite terrifying to listen to I have to say. The young man got to his feet when they were approximately 30metres away, held his arms up and said I’ve done nothing wrong. His young girlfriend look terrified. I made a split second decision to intervene because I just felt that if he didnt sit down, they would have attacked him, otherwise there would have been no need to have come screaming at us in the way that they did.

    I told the young man to sit down and asked the police what the problem was. He didnt sit down, he didnt remonstrate, he just stood behind me. The police calmed down, they were not rude to me, they eventually asked me to move aside and were clearly upset by the intervention. When I didnt move in an instant, they shoved me, I didnt go forward, just stood my ground and then found myself surrounded by 6-8 riot squad officers stamping their feet and chanting some form of riot speak, they knocked me to the ground, I lost consciousness for a short while, when I came too, I could hear people screaming, its a girl, its a girl.

    I was not a girl, I was a middle aged woman. Luckily I did not die but it is an incident that changed my life forever. .

    After I recovered myself, I went to take the badge number of the female police officer who originally pushed me. None of the police officers had their numbers on that night. I went to the officer who was clearly in command and asked why his officers were not displaying their badge numbers or any form of identification. He just told me he was busy and he would deal with it later. The atmosphere had cooled by then and the unit lined up in their formation. I stood and I waited. The female police officer came out of formation and asked me to go hom. I refused and asked her for her badge number. Her male colleague came and asked me to go home. I refused and told him that when I had her badge number and his, then I would go home. I waited for well over an hour before the female police officer slipped her badge out and put in on her epaulet.

    I went straight home and wrote to my MP. She wrote to the Chief Constable first thing the next morning. I was asked to attend the police station and met with an senior officer who requested that I go to the doctors to have my injuries photographed.

    I was told that I had two choices, I could either drop my formal complaint and the officers would be treated as if the incident was proved or they could investigate.

    I knew in my own mind there was little chance of holding these officers to account for their actions but I decided that I would ask the police to investigate. I knew that the police officers involved would have no choice but to lie, they did and the matter was closed shortly after.

    I choose this course of action because I have to believe that every police officer in our land has a conscience and when they act inappropriately they feel a sense of guilt which stays with them personally for the rest of their time spent in the force and hopefully for the remainder of their lifetime. I accept I may well be naive. I also felt if citizens didnt stand up to this type of behaviour that like any other thug or bully, the behaviour gets worse.

    The Tomlinson case has shown that in this day and age the police will no longer be able to exercise the power of the state inappropriately without running the risk of being caught on camera and being brought to trial and I would urge anyone who finds themselves witness to such an event to record it and report it to the MP or the IPCC.

    I agree with your point that the allegations against PC Harwood were not substantiated claims and should not therefore be taken into account but you are right that we as a society have good reason to ask questions about why this police officer was still serving and whether the IPCC or the CPS acted entirely appropriately or independently when they choose not to pursue the allegations against PC Harwood to court, because if we dont ask the questions, Ian Tomlinson may be considered to have died in vain.

    I cannot help but feel however that justice has been served in this case because of the length of time the jurors spent considering their verdict. It was clearly a very difficult task. Perhaps the system needs changing because I cannot imagine that one of those jurors will not carry around with them an element of guilt after having heard the news that was released following the conclusion of the trial.

    My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Ian Tomlinson, this must have been one of the hardest days of their lives and I sincerely hope that they manage to find some peace safe in the knowledge that the country is feeling their pain.

  17. For those interested in the workings of a jury, I am told that 12 Angry Men is an extremely good and compelling film.

  18. Harwood was not found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but as with OJ Simpson, he may very well be found liable on the balance of probabilities, in that it is extremely likely that the push and fall did precipitate his demise.

    I hope that the Tomlinson family do NOT put this matter behind them and bring a claim against Harwood in the civil courts instead, where a Judge would agree that Justice must be served.

    Harwood will now have to face a disciplinary hearing where the Police will be fully aware of the previous allegations against his conduct. If he is found not guilty again, then there will be accusations that the Police are getting away with manslaughter and not being held responsible for their bad apples. If these poisonous apples are not removed from the barrel, then all Police officers will be tainted and mistrusted, just as many Judges are.

  19. Good article. I was led to believe from newspaper articles that the main issue in the case was not whether Harwood’s actions killed Tomlinson but whether they were unlawful or amounted to reasonable force based on the subjective test of what Harwood believed.

  20. From the evidence given the Jury verdict may well be utterly correct, however it does leave many external viewers with the question, as you have film of the officer hitting the unaware victim from behind, which what would it take to get a successful prosecution? And with such seemingly strong evidence, will this further discourage future prosecutions of the constabulary, on the grounds that conviction seems to be unlikely and as such is a waste of resources?

  21. Correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding is that the main – and perhaps deciding – difference between the evidence heard by the inquest and the evidence heard in trial is that a new ‘expert’ asserted that Tomlinson’s internal bleeding ‘could’ have began before he was struck. This seems contrary to at least one pathologist’s evidence that the bleeding would have caused his death in a matter of minutes. In the absence of any evidence as to where else Tomlinson may have acquired this injury within the timeframe there can be no reasonable doubt that it was caused by Harwood. As for whether Harwood’s actions were lawful or not, well, we’ve all seen the video…

  22. Reblogged this on English law and commented:
    In any criminal case evidence is the key, can the CPS prove the case against the client. Has the client got evidence that can cast doubt on the prosecution evidence. I am in cases where my client tells me he is not guilty striving to prove that. Not guilty is not innocent, but it does mean that the prosecution have not proven their case beyond reasonable doubt, or in the more usual terms “so the jury can be sure of guilt”.

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