Fury as riot officer avoids prosecution in G20 death
Published 23/07/2010 | 05:00
THE police officer captured on film striking Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in London will not face criminal charges over his death because of conflicting opinions about the cause of death.
Dr Freddy Patel conducted the first post-mortem on Mr Tomlinson's body and ruled he had died of a heart attack. That was contradicted by two subsequent post-mortems, which both found that the 47-year-old died of internal bleeding caused by a blow to the abdomen.
Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service said that this contradictory medical evidence was the reason it could not bring a manslaughter charge against PC Simon Harwood, the Metropolitan Police officer who pushed Mr Tomlinson to the ground shortly before his death.
The CPS also said it could not bring an assault charge because such a charge must be brought within six months, and it had taken 11 months to reach a decision. A charge of misconduct in public office was also considered, but rejected.
Mr Tomlinson's family reacted to the decision with fury. The dead man's son Paul King said: "We feel like it was not a full investigation from the beginning. It's a big cover-up."
Referring to the CPS Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, Mr King said: "He has just admitted on TV that a copper assaulted our dad. But he hasn't done anything . . . why hasn't he charged him?
"They knew that if they dragged this out long enough, they would avoid charges . . . They've pulled us through a hedge backwards -- now we have to go on living our lives."
Dr Patel, who is under investigation for professional misconduct unrelated to the case, has been suspended from working as a Home Office pathologist and has not worked in that capacity since July 2009. His misconduct hearing went before the General Medical Council (GMC) this week.
A GMC panel is investigating allegations that he gave "questionable verdicts" in four earlier post-mortems. The hearing is due to finish in September and could see Dr Patel struck off.
Yesterday the CPS said it was Dr Patel's findings in the first post-mortem on Mr Tomlinson that had halted proceedings. Dr Patel, who carried out the examination without knowing Mr Tomlinson had been struck by a police officer during the April 2009 protests, found that he had died of a heart attack.
The CPS said there was an "irreconcilable conflict" between his finding and that of the two subsequent pathologists. Because Dr Patel conducted the first post-mortem, his evidence would have to come before the court at any trial.
"As a result, the CPS would not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was a causal link between Mr Tomlinson's death and the alleged assault," Mr Starmer said. (© Independent News Service)