Below is final text of a letter to my MP concerning the CPS' refusal to bring any charges over the police assault on and subsequent death of Ian Tomlinson. It leads into suggesting that the Attorney General sacks the DPP Keir Starmer if he cannot answer questions posed satisfactorily.
Please send to your MP too - feel free to edit/abridge as you think fit.
They said the DPP Keir Starmer was big on human rights when appointed, and Monbiot writes that it is an underling of his (who also recommended no charges over de Menezes) who executed the CPS report of this particular case, but the DPP approved it. It's my understanding that the Attorney General is responsible for hiring or firing the Director of Public Prosecutions.
It's welcome that the CPS has recently decided to charge the four TSG assailants of Babar Ahmad, so it's not inconceivable the DPP might change his mind on this one.
If bold enough to email you could also cc Ken Clarke the Justice Secretary. Mr Baccy he may be, but he is said to be big on police reform and human rights and recently announced a judicial inquiry into the police killing of Azelle Rodney.
Dear [NAME OF MP] MP,
Re: The attack on Mr Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests, who subsequently died
- 3rd result for Yahoo image search for "Ian Tomlinson G20" showing him walking with bruising around right eye
- Image from Sky News site referred to below showing Tomlinson lying on ground with large bruise on forehead]
I share the amazement of many others at the refusal by the Crown Prosecution Service to bring any charges against the PC who apparently assaulted Mr Ian Tomlinson at last year's G20 protests, shortly before his death, an assault that was captured from two directions on widely publicised private film footage.
I have read the full CPS statement on their website of why they do not recommend that any criminal charges are brought.
I feel infuriated that the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer, who is paid £195,000+, and CPS Chief Executive Peter Lewis, who is paid £160,000+, have presided over such a crude and negligent explanation of why the CPS will not bring any prosecution, in spite of the total further resources that must have been spent on the CPS' and IPCC's investigations into the incident.
I understand that Keith Vaz MP chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has written to the DPP Keir Starmer urging him to reconsider.
Please will you convey the following questions I have to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP:
1. Did the Government instruct, advise, request or in any way convey a wish to the CPS against any charges being brought against the offending PC or to delay an announcement until when they did?
2. Will the Attorney General ask Keir Starmer why the CPS took well over six months to give its verdict, though all the post mortems of Mr Tomlinson were conducted in the month after his death, considering that a prosecution for Common Assault was made impossible because a six month deadline was passed, and it is the CPS' job to know such deadlines?
3. Will he ask Keir Starmer why the CPS statement made no mention or discussion of Mr Tomlinson's head impact with the ground after the assault, and head injury or injuries?
The second above picture, from Sky News, 24/4/09 ( http://tiny.cc/xn8t4), clearly shows a large bruise on Mr Tomlinson's forehead shortly after the assault. The article reports: "It is consistent with video footage that has already revealed how his head hit the flagstones after a violent push from the officer… Witnesses have said they heard a noise as Mr Tomlinson struck the ground and the sound of an impact can be heard on the amateur film… Sources have confirmed a head injury was recorded in pathology reports, though it is not thought to have contributed to his death."
On 5/4/09 the Guardian had reported ( http://tiny.cc/mzfgm): "A female protester, who does not want to be named but has given her testimony to the IPCC, said she saw a man she later recognised as Tomlinson being pushed aggressively from behind by officers. "I saw a man violently propelled forward, as though he'd been flung by the arm, and fall forward on his head… He hit the top front area of his head on the pavement. I noticed his fall particularly because it struck me as a horrifically forceful push by a policeman and an especially hard fall; it made me wince."
The first above photo also apparently shows some facial bruising, and was apparently taken immediately after he had got up from being pushed over, showing facial bruising not visible in the assault footage.
4. Will he ask Keir Starmer why Assault occasioning Actual Bodily Harm was rejected because the only injury the CPS believes can reliably be ascribed to the attack were "relatively minor" leg bruises, when the PC did not merely strike Mr Tomlinson with a baton that caused leg bruising but also pushed him hard in quick succession with this, a calculated move to cause him to fall sharply, in a manner that was likely to cause some trauma elsewhere, in this case at least facial bruising as well as the disputed internal trauma?
5. Will he ask Keir Starmer his response to the comments of Dr Nat Cary, the second forensic pathologist who examined Mr Tomlinson, quoted in the Guardian newspaper, 23 July ( http://tiny.cc/41vlb), in response to the CPS statement: "I'm quite happy to challenge that. The injuries were not relatively minor. He sustained quite a large area of bruising. Such injuries are consistent with a baton strike, which could amount to ABH. It's extraordinary. If that's not ABH I would like to know what is."?
6. In relation to the charge considered of Misconduct in Public Office, the CPS states:
- this "is committed when a public officer acting as such wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder without reasonable excuse or justification."
- this "cannot simply be used as a substitute for other offences and simply being a police officer who commits a criminal offence, even one of assault, does not, without some other aggravating factor, automatically amount to the offence of misconduct in public office",
- "The threshold is a high one requiring conduct so far below acceptable standards as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder." In addition: "It will normally be necessary to consider the likely consequences of the breach in deciding whether the conduct falls so far below the standard of conduct to be expected of the officer as to constitute the offence."
Will the Attorney General ask Keir Starmer, in relation to the issue of Misconduct:
(i) why he does not consider that the fact that the PC conducted such an attack during paid duty is an aggravating factor and a reason for more charges, not less, i.e. a charge of Misconduct in addition to any of Assault or Manslaughter whether or not the latter would succeed?
(ii) why the baton strike that the CPS elsewhere admits caused bruising was not considered as potential Misconduct, whereas the push on Mr Tomlinson was considered as potential Misconduct?
(iii) why the CPS states it "would not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Tomlinson's fall had caused him any injury" yet makes no mention of the facial injuries?
(iv) whether he believes it was, or was not, a likely consequence of Mr Tomlinson being felled in the manner he was that he would sustain some injury?
(v) why the CPS does not consider the likely psychological injury to Mr Tomlinson of being felled in the manner he was?
(vi) why in discussion of this potential offence, the CPS fails to mention that the PC was illegitimately not displaying his serial number, and was partially concealing his face with a scarf or balaclava, whereas his clear facial shield was in a raised position not protecting his face?
(vii) why, in discussion of this potential offence, the CPS fails to mention that the PC did not stop to see if Mr Tomlinson required medical attention?
(viii) whether the failure to stop to attend to Mr Tomlinson's potential medical needs would constitute a willful neglect to perform his duty, and so could be considered as Misconduct?
(ix) whether he believes that the actions and behaviour of the PC did not amount to an abuse of public trust in police officers?
7. Will he ask Keir Starmer why the CPS statement made no mention of any of the formal reprimands and suspensions of the first pathologist Dr Freddy Patel or investigations into his competence, which include that in 1999 he was investigated by the police over another autopsy and disciplined by the General Medical Council; that he was reported to the Home Office by the Met Police in 2004 who considered him unworthy of further work for them; that he was suspended from a Government register of pathologists in June 2009; and the announcement on July 12th 2010 that the General Medical Council were investigating Dr Freddy Patel over a total 26 charges of misconduct relating to 4 other autopsies?
8. Will he ask Keir Starmer why, having taken so long to deliberate, he is closing the door on waiting to hear the outcome of the GMC's latest investigation into Dr Patel?
9. The CPS states that a conviction for manslaughter would be unrealistic since Dr Freddy Patel as the first pathologist would be called to testify, and would testify that the death was caused by heart disease.
Will the Attorney General ask Keir Starmer
(i) whether the CPS was aware of the precedent of the 2003 Sally White murder conviction which contradicted the initial post mortem by the very same Dr Freddy Patel?
(ii) why the CPS did not refer to that case?
(iii) what is the CPS' view of its implications for this case?
In 2002, Dr Patel conducted the autopsy of prostitute Sally White whose body had been discovered by police at the home of Anthony Hardy, and reported she had died of a heart attack. This caused the Met Police to close their investigation into her suspicious death. Hardy went on to kill two more women; in 2003 he was charged with murdering all three women and pleaded guilty on all counts.
10. Will he ask Keir Starmer why the CPS states that the police line advanced down Royal Exchange, moving Mr Tomlinson on ahead of them, in order to prevent protesters getting behind police lines to Threadneedle Street, when it is clear from the footage that the line of police including dog handlers already prevented anyone from getting to Threadneedle Street via Royal Exchange?
11. Will he ask Keir Starmer why the CPS statement did not mention that Mr Tomlinson was being detained by police along with a large crowd of protesters and passers by in a 'kettle' or encirclement, a controversial police tactic often pre-planned for large protests like this, and no discussion of whether this, therefore, should be classed as a death in custody?
12. Will he ask Keir Starmer why the CPS statement did not mention of that the police operation was called Operation Glencoe, Glencoe being the site of a famous massacre, and no discussion of whether this could be considered incitement or at least misconduct by the senior officer(s) concerned?
13. Will he ask Keir Starmer why, although the CPS statement refers to a "sizeable minority" of protesters not being peaceful, and to 30 police injuries sustained that day, it makes no mention of how many members of the public got injured, nor of how many complaints were made to the IPCC of police-initiated violence that day, nor of how many attested cases this included of injuries caused by police or police dogs, nor of considerable film footage apparently showing police-initiated violence?
14. If Keir Starmer's answers are seriously inadequate then will the Attorney General dismiss him?
15. In view of how much needs to be done to improve confidence in police forces and the justice system, will the Government also make it its policy to introduce elected Police Commissioners?