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One law for police and another for everyone else

The whole episode of the killing of Ian Tomlinson brings into stark relief the deep doubts about the criminal justice system in its treatment of the police.

First, the IPCC whose role is to hold the police to account resisted calls to open an investigation for 7 days after Tomlinson’s death. They only reversed this decision when the Guardian released video footage taken by a visiting US fund manager showing Tomlinson hit by a baton and pushed to the ground by a policeman. Had those pictures not been taken and had the Guardian not made them public, the whole matter would have been swept under the carpet from the start because the City of London police detective superintendent put in charge of the inquiry because of the IPCC’s passivity told the family that Tomlinson had simply “run out of batteries” and may have had a heart attack because of the demo.

Second, the IPCC’s failure to respond allowed the police and the coroner to take the crucial decision to invite a controversial pathologist, Dr. Freddy Patel, to carry out the autopsy (at which the police were present, but from which the IPCC was barred). Patel had already twice been suspended by the General Medical Council after being found guilty of botched post-mortems and falsifying his CV, and he was no longer registered on the Home Office list of forensic pathologists. The deliberate choice of Patel by the polic and the coroner therefore looks very suspicious. He concluded that Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. Subsequently 3 other forensic pathologists also carried out an investigation, and all took the same view that he had died from internal bleeding in the abdomen, where three litres of bloody fluid were found. But the discredited pathologist Patel had carried out the first and most important autopsy, and as the key witness his evidence may have swayed the verdict.

Third, the signs of cover-up are manifest throught the whole process. The family was not told that 3 police witnesses confirmed 2 days after Tomlinson’s death that they had seen a colleague strike him with a baton and push him to the ground. Instead the police superintendent told them that Tomlinson’s attacker may have been a member of the public who had stolen a police uniform! After the Guardian released the video footage, both the police and the IPCC visited the Guardian’s office to request the video be removed from the website on the grounds that it might compromise any future inquiry and that it was upsetting the family – both of which turned out to be false. At the trial the jury were not told that the accused PC Harwood had been investigated several times before for violence and misconduct. And of course there had already been a coroner jury verdict reached in 3 hours, on virtually the same evidence, that Tomlinson had been “unlawfully killed” by a police officer.

Fourth the conclusion has to be that it is next to impossible to convict a police officer of manslaughter. Despite 1,433 deaths in police custody of involving police officers since 1990, not one police officer has been convicted. What this latest dreadful case indicates is that the IPCC is not fit for purpose, the police should never be allowed to carry out the inquiry into any such case or be present at the autopsy, and that any evidence given by a forensic pathologist who is not on the Home Office approved list should be automatically disregarded. We still have a long way to go before justice is seen to apply to the police in the same way as to everyone else.

One Comment

  1. john p reid says:

    Instead the police superintendent told them that Tomlinson’s attacker may have been a member of the public who had stolen a police uniform!-this is factually incorrect a journalist made this up

    regarding the IPCC resisting calls for an inquiry till the phone footage, the City police handles the enquiry and did’t realsie despite being told by 6 other Met police witnesses who said harwood pushed him over, the City police isn’t the met there’s no loved between them there’s no reason to believe that the city police deliberatly didn’t realsie a emember of the Met had pushed tomlisnon over,

    Had those pictures not been taken and had the Guardian not made them public, the whole matter would have been swept under the carpet from the start because the City of London police -the IPCC inquiry said though unlikely the trial would have took place had it not been for the Phone footage, tehy IPC said teh met polcei and city police didn’t do anything wrong in the fact it took 7 days before teh IPCC was told,

    regarding Harwoods 12 other complaints 11 of these he was cleared the only one he wasn’t was he used A police computer to find out someones address for non work purposes ,do you really feel a jury would have acted different if they’d found out that he used the police computer for his own ends, polce do get compaints put in agasint them by criminals if the police officers are cleared of these complaints they are innocent of them or do we want everyone who’s up in court to have a jury told that mud sticks they were cleared of things in the past ,but there’s an allegation so think less of them ,Get your facts straight about that one Michael,

    regarding the 1,433 deaths in custody in the last 22 years only 11 were unlawful and of those no individual officer was held repsonsible, the fact that a jury found tomlisnons death unlawful based on faulty evidence from Fredy patel and otehrs doens’t mean that another jury see it as manslaughter,a s you well know an unlawful killing can be from death by dangerous driving, I could mention when Livingstone invited with iopen arm the IRA who killed 3,600 people the GLC was disbanded,

    when the Miners leades sent other minder to a bridge to throw bricks off a bridge and Kill a taxi driver the NUM is aswell as disbanded, and if I follow this flow when Benrie grant funded broadwater farm youth clubs who’s leader collected petorl bombs to start fires injures people so Firemen and Ambulance drivers had to enter the estate with the intention the rioters would kill those people A p.C went into protect them and was decapitated, if the GLC was disbanded after livingstone invited the IRA murderers ,and the NUM’s gone after the murder at broadwater farm the labour party should have been disbanded too,

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