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Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Case of Ian Tomlinson

The authorities, media and public commentators have all recently, collectively, expressed disdain, disbelief and total bemusement as to how so many people could possibly want to sign up to a Facebook tribute page, in support of dead murderer, Raoul Moat.

Celebs, columnists and anyone who likes the sound of their own voice, (or the size of their column inches), have been waxing lyrical about the state of our ‘sick’ society, where people would want to canonise a murderer.

Even the Prime Minister himself was quick to declare, in the House of Commons, that Moat was NOT deserving of any sympathy; rather such sentiments should be reserved purely for his victims.

I am sure that quite a few sighs of relief would have resonated along the relevant corridors of power when the tribute page’s creator voluntarily closed the site down; especially so, given that Facebook itself refused to bow under Prime Ministerial pressure to censure 'RIP Raoul Moat you Legend'.
However, I rather believe, and fear, that many of those who ostensibly appeared to be SUPPORTING Moat, were, in fact, actually making a statement about, and demonstrating against, what many perceive to be an increasingly hostile POLICE state, where officers can act improperly and unprofessionally without impunity. I am NOT necessarily suggesting that this was the case in the Raoul Moat case, or in the circumstances relating to his demise. We shall have to wait ANOTHER eon, no doubt, before the full facts relating to THAT matter are ever fully realised, if at all.

No; if the powers that be want to know how or why so many people would wish to express such resentment and distrust of the authorities, police and law enforcers of this country, then they need look no further than the tragic case of Ian Tomlinson.

Mr. Tomlinson, you will remember, died on April 1st, 2009, collapsing in the street after having been beaten and pushed to the floor by a truncheon wielding police officer during the G20 summit protest. The incident, where Mr. Tomlinson was NOT taking part in the protest, having his hands in his pockets and walking away from the police line, was FILMED by several sources; most of them clearly showing what appears to be a completely unprovoked and uncalled for attack.

Moments after the incident, Ian Tomlinson was dead.

Over fifteen and a half Months later, the CPS has declared that NO charges will be brought against any officer in relation to Mr. Tomlinson’s death.

Mr. Tomlinson’s family have stated that the authorities have engineered a cover up.

The evidence available suggests they might be right.

PC Simon Harwood was the officer who was filmed striking and pushing Mr. Tomlinson to the ground. His policing methods, together with those of the unit in which he served, the Territorial Support Group, (TSG), appear to have some history of dubious activity.

According to reports, Harwood had previously served and RESIGNED from the Metropolitan Police, for using unnecessary force in a “road rage” incident. He left the Force on Medical grounds, receiving a pension and thus avoiding the Disciplinary hearing that he was due to face, together with any punitive measures for his actions.

He then, (somehow), REJOINED the police, where his previous behaviour appears to have been completely forgotten, before subsequently receiving an appointment back at the Met.

According to other Media reports at the time of the Tomlinson incident, Harwood is alleged to have removed his shoulder ID number and obscured his lower face with his balaclava just prior to him lashing out at Mr. Tomlinson.

Another newspaper investigation alleged that the TSG were known FREQUENTLY to swap ID numbers amongst themselves whilst on operations, enabling them to claim mistaken identity in the eventuality of any complaints or allegations of wrongdoing being levied.

If ever there was a case where the authorities had to make a stand for common decency and for the General Public, and to be SEEN to be administering justice for clear wrongdoing, this was it. Of course, it is inconceivable that PC Harwood intended to cause serious harm to Mr. Tomlinson, and I personally do not feel that a charge of Manslaughter should ever have been made.

However, to elect to NOT bring any charges whatsoever against Harwood, DESPITE the initial recommendations of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is not only a most injurious and dangerous course of action to take by the Crown Prosecution Service but, in my opinion, potentially one that could cause a most corrosive and irreparable relationship between the Police Force and the authorities as a whole, and the public whom they are meant to serve and protect.

It must surely be a most unfortunate coincidence that the Deputy Director for the CPS who made the decision NOT to prosecute anyone in the Tomlinson case, Stephen O'Doherty, is the SAME Deputy Director who elected NOT to bring any prosecutions in the Jean Charles De Menezes case.

In that case, you may remember, Mr. O' Doherty absolved the armed police officers and their commanders in a botched operation that left an innocent Mr. De Menezes with seven bullets in his head.

Rather like the De Menezes case, the IPCC originally stated that there were NO CCTV cameras in the area that recorded the incident involving Mr. Tomlinson. When photographs of the SIX cameras available were published by newspapers, the IPCC reversed its position and said its investigators were looking at footage recovered from them.

I can think of no greater insult, nor example of rubbing salt in the wounds of Mr. Tomlinson’s family, than by citing the reasons not to prosecute anyone in this case because of the Medical evidence of Dr Mohmed Saeed Sulema Patel.

“Freddy” Patel, alleged that Mr. Tomlinson died of a heart attack. Natural causes. Nothing to do with any injuries.

Patel is currently facing disciplinary hearings relating to 26 charges of sub-standard practices, including incompetently carrying out a number of earlier autopsies where he failed to attribute any significance to obvious signs of injuries incurred as a result of violence.

For some reason best known to himself, Dr. Patel also disposed of three litres of bodily fluids taken from Mr. Tomlinson, said to be blood from an internal rupture.

Patel carried out his medical “examinations” of Mr. Tomlinson in the absence of any other Medical expert.

Patel is currently suspended from the Home Office register of accredited forensic pathologists and barred from carrying out postmortem examinations in suspicious death cases.

Despite the fact that two further, detailed and lengthy Post Mortem examinations suggested that Ian Tomlinson death was due to internal bleeding, as a result of blunt force trauma – an injury consistent with a fall or assault- Dr. Patel is the medical expert that was clearly more favoured by CPS Director Stephen O’Doherty, stating that the “irreconcilable conflict" between Patel and the other two doctors would undermine any prosecution against the police officer involved.

To summarise:- a clear and obvious assault, by a Police Officer who quite possibly shouldn’t have been serving in the capacity that he was in the first place, operating in a unit whose policing procedures have effectively been rewritten as a consequence of this case; resulting in the death of an innocent man, the true reasons for whose demise were almost certainly omitted by an incompetent and most inept Doctor.

All presided over by a Prosecutor with an unenviable track record of conducting investigations that absolve the police of any culpability.

It is quite possibly fortunate for us ALL, that Raoul Moat met his demise when he did. For if he was still at large, then his subsequent downfall, in the light of Ian Tomlinson’s CPS decision, might have created a tide of support and following for Mr. Moat that no amount of social vilification and comment could impede.

R.I.P. Mr. Tomlinson.................