19/12/2018

PSNI Officer Who Punched Man In Face Cleared Of Misconduct

A police officer who punched a man in the face during his arrest has been cleared of misconduct by the Police Ombudsman's Office.

The incident took place at a house in County Down in April, when the complainant was struck in the face and head whilst hiding in a cubby hole, according to the watchdog.

The man later complained of oppressive behaviour, stating that he suffered a sore chin, a black eye, and bruising to his forehead and left ear during the alleged assault.

Staff at the Ombudsman's office examined custody records, photographs and medical forms, police officers' notebook entries, body worn video, and external medical and dental records.

The officer concerned was also questioned under criminal caution.

There was no body worn footage of the actual incident in question, but in a video recorded by officers in another room of the house, another man was heard stating "don't be hitting my friend".

This individual failed to come forward to make a witness statement.
News Image
The accused constable admitted striking the man, but claimed it was in retaliation after he was approached aggressively at the top of the stairs.

He also claimed that the punch was designed to stunt the man and avoid an altercation which had the potential of causing them both to fall down the stairs, an account which was corroborated by his colleague.

A forensic medical officer who examined the constable after the incident found that injuries to his hand were consistent with a 'one strike' mark.

Custody records showed that the complainant declined to attend the medical room and was instead taken to A&E where the examining doctor noted small cuts to the mouth and 'mild tenderness' to the jaw.

A dental surgeon assessed the man following his release and confirmed that a fractured tooth had to be extracted, but said no other teeth were loose.

The Police Ombudsman investigators concluded that the available evidence did not back up claims that he was struck several times.

They concluded that there was no evidence to show the police officer had used excessive or unreasonable force.



(JG/CM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 January 2019
Man Arrested After 'Suspicious Approach' To Young Girls In Co Down
A man in his 40's has been arrested after reports of a suspicious approach to two young girls in County Down. The incident took place in the Fountain Street area of Downpatrick on the afternoon of Thursday 03 January. The man remains in police custody at this time. Police have appealed to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at around 2.
23 September 2015
Officer Failed To Seek Medical Assistance For Man Attacked At Nightclub - Report
A police officer failed to summon medical assistance for a man who had been attacked outside a nightclub in County Antrim, according to a report by the Police Ombudsman. The man suffered head and face injuries after intervening to help a friend who was being attacked by five other men outside a nightclub in November 2014.
11 January 2019
Health Service Approaching Medical Student Funding Crisis
Areas of Northern Ireland's health service could face cuts of £30m a year to meet the demand for medical students, the Department has warned. It follows the publication of a review into medical school places in Northern Ireland, which found that at least 100 more students are needed each year to meet the growing demand for doctors.
07 January 2016
Police Officer Given Adult Caution For Bar Assault
A police officer assaulted a man at a bar while off-duty and unlawfully accessed information on police computer systems, according to a Police Ombudsman investigation. The officer was given an adult caution after he was found to have punched a man in the face during an argument at a bar in Belfast city centre in August 2014.
14 May 2012
Seven Police Officers Disciplined Over Pensioner's Death
Seven police officers have been disciplined over an investigation into the death of Lisburn man Jim Heasley in October 2010. The 70-year-old was assaulted as he walked home from Lagan Valley Pigeon Club. An investigation by the Police Ombudsman found a series of failings in the initial police response.
04 September 2015
Police Were Justified In Using Taser - Ombudsman
Police were justified in using Taser during four incidents which involved knives, according to the Police Ombudsman. Three of the incidents involved people self-harming, and in the other, officers feared a knife would be used against them. Dr Michael Maguire found that the use of Taser had in each instance been lawful, necessary and proportionate.
08 October 2014
Police Cancel Appeal For Missing Omagh Man
Police have said they believe missing Omagh man, Shane Sharkey, has been found in the Republic of Ireland. A police appeal for help in finding the 35-year-old has been cancelled, with police saying they now believe they know where he is. No further details have been released but police thanked the public for their help.
27 May 2015
Two Police Officers Disciplined Over Report Of Indecent Approach To Children
Two police officers have been disciplined following a complaint about a police response to reports that a man had approached three young girls and asked them to touch him in east Belfast last year.
11 June 2015
Police Officer Disciplined For Shooting A Man And Using Excessive Force
A police officer has been disciplined for using excessive force after he shot a man as he fled after abandoning a stolen car. It follows a Police Ombudsman investigation into the use of live fire during the incident, which happened in Gilford, Co Down, on 18 July 2009.
02 October 2008
'Get The Flu Jab' Stresses Ulster's Top Doc
Northern Ireland's top doctor has urged the most vulnerable in society to get vaccinated against the flu this winter. The Chief Medical Officer's advice comes after it was revealed health authorities have stockpiled thousands of drugs to protect those "at risk".
06 August 2014
Police Vehicle Contracts Arrest - Man Released
A 54-year-old member of police staff who was arrested in County Antrim as part of ongoing investigations into the awarding of vehicle contracts has been released. The man was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and has been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning.
03 July 2007
Man questioned about 1988 murder
A man has been arrested in connection with police inquiries into a murder in 1988. The body of Lily Smyth, 66, was found in her flat at Moveen House in Dunmurry on October 9, 1988. The pensioner had been strangled. A police spokesperson said that a 43-year-old man had been arrested and is being questioned at Antrim Police Station.
28 March 2007
House of Lords vote for ‘50/50’ police force
The House of Lords has renewed the 50/50 recruitment rule for the PSNI by a majority of 44. It puts into practice a recommendation made in 1999 by Lord Patten that the local police force should be split evenly between Catholics and Protestants. The result of the vote was 141 to 97.
26 April 2016
Claims Officer Used Excessive Force Against Man Rejected
Claims that a police officer used excessive force and homophobic language against a man who was arrested for disorderly behaviour have been rejected, following a Police Ombudsman investigation. The incident happened in Belfast in June last year.
03 December 2015
Two Officers Disciplined For Failing To Fully Investigate Attack On Woman
Two police officers have been disciplined for failing to properly investigate an attack on a woman in L'Derry in 2014, following an investigation by the Police Ombudsman. The victim reported that a man had punched her in the face in an apparently unprovoked attack after she left a bar in the early hours of the morning.