You are here

PC charged with manslaughter over death of Tomlinson

24 May 2011

PC Simon Harwood has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson during the 2009 G20 protests.

However, the DPP, Keir Starmer, warned this morning that “real difficulties remain” with the prosecution.

“The difficulty facing any prosecution in relation to the death of Mr Tomlinson lies in the conflicting medical evidence about the cause of death,” Starmer said.

“That difficulty remains. A criminal trial is different to an inquest and it is my duty to ensure that a prosecution is only brought where there is evidence available to the prosecution that provides a realistic prospect of a jury being able to satisfy themselves beyond reasonable doubt that an offence has been committed.

“For that reason very careful consideration is required where there is conflicting medical evidence.

“However, matters have moved on in two ways since the original decision was taken in this case. First, new medical evidence was presented at the inquest. Second, the various accounts and opinions given by the medical experts, including Dr Patel, were tested in extensive questioning at the inquest. This has changed the basis upon which the case falls to be considered.

“But for the inquest, the significant conflicts in the evidence that had previously existed could not have been addressed and the inquest process, which is less confined than a criminal trial, has allowed a degree of clarity to emerge.”

Starmer said the CPS had considered the new evidence heard at the inquest “very carefully indeed” and taken the advice of Tim Owen QC on the remaining medical issues.

“Having done so, we are satisfied that the position in relation to the medical evidence about the cause of death has clearly changed.”

The DPP said there was now sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of successfully prosecuting PC Harwood and it was “clearly in the public interest” for criminal proceedings to be brought.

Earlier this month Starmer announced that last year’s decision not to prosecute would be reviewed in the light of the finding of unlawful killing by the jury at Tomlinson’s inquest.

He added that PC Harwood would appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 20 June 2011.

Categorised in:

Police & Prisons Local government