Bad arrest, good result

IssueFebruary - March 2016
News by Chris Bluemel

I was charged with assaulting police officer in the execution of his duty on 12 September in the run-up to the DSEI arms fair in East London.

The officer had grabbed me without warning when I was climbing a pillar to reinforce a banner which I had stuck up there a little earlier, and I had swung my arm out to try and make him let of me. The gaffer tape in my hand had hit his face.

There were two lines of defence: firstly, that the police officer was not acting in the execution of his duty, since he had no reason to be trying to stop me from climbing the pillar. Secondly, I had acted in reasonable self-defence, as he had endangered me by touching me while I was climbing.

In court, on 7 January, the officer’s account was patchy and inconsistent. The reason why he needed to prevent me from climbing the pillar kept changing, as each reason failed to stand up to the skilful questioning of my barrister. This alone caused the case to fail.

Stratford magistrates could not be satisfied that the officer was acting in the execution of his duty, and so had to find me ‘not guilty’. They gave an order for costs, in order that my train fares to court were reimbursed.