Seven Met officers on crime charges

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Seven Metropolitan Police officers have been charged with offences including assault, unlawful imprisonment and conspiring to pervert the course of justice over incidents in east London, the force confirmed last night.

The charges follow incidents in May 1994 and February 1995 which prompted several complaints and an internal police inquiry, supervised by the Police Complaints Authority.

Two of the officers have already appeared in court and been remanded on bail. The others have been summonsed and will appear before magistrates in early November.

Six of the officers, all male, were based at nearby Stoke Newington police station, and were on duty at the time of the alleged offences. The seventh was based at Enfield, in north London.

The charges arise out of a public-order incident when 12 people were arrested outside the Putlogs pub in Hackney. The arrests came after a performance by a punk band called Coitus the day before a festival for Hackney's homeless. All those arrested were charged with counts of obstruction, affray and criminal damage. All were subsequently acquitted.

One set of complaints is believed to centre on four people among those arrested. A second, and unrelated, set of complaints is believed to centre on accusations of assault in cells at Stoke Newington.

Charges were laid after advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. None of the complainants has been named.Additional case papers have been filed to the CPS and its decisions on further allegations of assault and perverting the course of justice are awaited.

Scotland Yard said that Constable Jason Cook and Sergeant Terence Norman had already been bailed by Bow Street magistrates on charges of assault in Dalston, east London, in February last year.

On Monday, summonses were served on PCs Martin Pearl and David Hay alleging unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Stoke Newington in May 1994. PC Mark Astley, based at Enfield, faces the same charges.

PC Colin MacLennan is charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice in Stoke Newington in May 1994. Yesterday, a further summons, alleging assault, unlawful imprisonment and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was served on PC Dustin Irribarren.

All five are due to appear at Bow Street on 5 November.

Russell Miller, solicitor for nine of the complainants, hailed the decision to prosecute as "the culmination of 14 months' work and an unprecedented example of co-operation between victims, their solicitors and those responsible for investigating police crime. It is an example all those concerned with the current crisis in policing should look to as a model".

Two female detectives who claimed sex discrimination have accepted substantial payouts, it was confirmed yesterday.

Former Detective Constable Elizabeth Ashurst is reported to have been paid up to pounds 100,000 over allegations of misbehaviour at Harrogate police station, North Yorkshire. Amanda Rose, a fellow CID officer, accepted pounds 10,000.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed that both woman dropped their cases before they were due to be heard by an industrial tribunal. Both have now left the force.