UK policeman cleared of G20 manslaughter charge19/07/2012 - 14:49:57
A police officer has today been cleared of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in 2009.
Pc Simon Harwood, 45, said he used reasonable force when he hit 47-year-old Mr Tomlinson with a baton and shoved him to the ground as he walked away from police lines in the City of London.
Mr Tomlinson was an alcoholic and had slept rough for a number of years.
His widow, stepsons Paul and Richard King and other relatives have attended every day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court, which has sparked high emotion at times.
Had Mr Harwood been convicted, it would have been the first time a police officer had been successfully prosecuted for manslaughter while on duty.
Giving evidence during the trial, Mr Harwood, from Carshalton, Surrey, admitted he was "wrong" to hit and push the father-of-nine, but said he did not realise that at the time.
He told the jury: "Now I've seen all the evidence and I know how poorly Mr Tomlinson was I'm sorry that I got involved, I shouldn't have hit him with a baton and pushed him."
He said he believed Mr Tomlinson, who was drunk at the time, was being deliberately obstructive and that his use of force was reasonable.
"I believed he was doing it on purpose. From what I saw he looked like he wasn't going to move and was looking at the police as though he wanted them to move him away."
Mr Harwood had unsuccessfully tried to arrest a man for writing ACAB - short for 'all cops are bastards' - on a police carrier moments before coming across Mr Tomlinson.
The culprit managed to wriggle free in front of a jeering crowd, leaving Mr Harwood "terrified" and in fear for his safety, jurors heard.
He also shoved another protester and pulled a TV cameraman to the ground.
Members of Mr Tomlinson's family sobbed in the public gallery as the verdict was given, as did Mr Harwood's wife.
The jury of seven women and five men took 18 hours and 45 minutes to clear him.
The police watchdog the IPCC has said that Harwood will face Metropolitan Police internal disciplinary proceedings later in the year over the incident.
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