Imagine you hit a guy with a baton, and then pushed him over and he died a few minutes later. Say you got really lucky and the police ‘made an error’ and said the post mortem showed the deceased died of natural causes. So far so good (for you). But hey-ho, a video appears of your action (you know, hitting an unarmed guy walking away from you, when you are with your mates in full riot gear, when he is clearly no possible threat).
Then another lets say competent (rather than actually honest) post mortem shows that abdominal bleeding caused by the blow was the cause of death.
Well you might claim that you had not realised the now dead man was walking away from you, because just having his back to you and walking away from you offered no real clue as to the direction of travel.
And you might be dead lucky and have a road-rage incident suppressed (one in which you quit your job on health grounds ahead of any disciplinary, but then amazingly you rejoined the self same job).
Oh and the inquest declared your victim unlawfully killed.
Well under such circumstances, would you expect?
(a) conviction and jail time, or
(b) to walk away free
The Ian Tomlinson timeline for anyone who is interested.
- 1 April 2009: Ian Tomlinson is caught up in a G20 protest. He collapses in the street and dies
- 4 April: Police say post-mortem examination show he died of “natural causes”
- 7 April: Video footage emerges of Mr Tomlinson being pushed to the ground by police officer
- April 2009: Further post-mortem tests find cause of death was abdominal bleeding, caused by blow
- 22 July: Prosecutors say there will be no charges as there is no agreement on death cause
- 3 May 2011: Inquest verdict of unlawful killing
- 20 June 2011: PC Simon Harwood charged with manslaughter after review of inquest evidence
- 18 June 2012: PC Harwood goes on trial at Southwark Crown Court
- 19 July 2012: PC Harwood found not guilty
And the video showing the reasonable use of force