Officers charged with assaulting terror suspect

Four police officers were told today they will go on trial accused of attacking a terrorist suspect nearly seven years ago.

The officers will be charged with assaulting Babar Ahmad as they arrested him during a raid at his home in Tooting, south London.



The four, who were all members of the Metropolitan Police's territorial support group (TSG) at the time, are accused of assault causing actual bodily harm.



They are Pcs Nigel Cowley, 32, Roderick James-Bowen, 39, and Mark Jones, 43, and Detective Constable John Donohue who has since transferred to another unit.



Ahmad, 36, who remains in custody awaiting a decision on whether he can be extradited to the United States, welcomed the news.



He said: "I am pleased that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided that a jury will hear the evidence in this case.



"It will now be for the jury to determine whether any police officer should be punished for the assault upon me in December 2003."



Ahmad suffered injuries including heavy bruising to his head, neck, wrists and feet when he was arrested in December 2003.



The computer expert was held on suspicion of supporting and helping to recruit terrorists to fight in Afghanistan and Chechnya through email accounts and websites.



Prosecutors considered a file of evidence on how the injuries were caused in 2004 after an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).



They found there was insufficient evidence for a conviction but reconsidered the case after Ahmad brought a civil case to the High Court last year.



He was awarded £60,000 damages after the court heard evidence he was assaulted and racially abused by a group of officers.



Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted he was the victim of violence and the officers were accused of a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged" attack.



He ordered an independent review by retired senior judge Sir Geoffrey Grigson into the handling of the case.



Inquiries into the attack were marked by the loss of key documents, including previous complaints against the officers, and the refusal of some to attend court.



Ahmad has never been charged in Britain, but has been held in Long Lartin prison since 2004 after the United States issued an extradition warrant.



In July the European Court of Human Rights halted the move as it considers whether it will breach his rights by exposing him to life imprisonment without parole.



The CPS decision creates a fresh headache for senior Scotland Yard staff over the role of the TSG wing which has been blighted by controversy.



Campaign groups and one member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) have called for its role to be reviewed.



Last month prosecutors said TSG officer Pc Simon Harwood will not be prosecuted over the death of Ian Tomlinson.



Mr Tomlinson, 47, died after being struck with a baton and pushed to the ground by Mr Harwood on the fringe of G20 protests on April 1 last year.



Simon Clements, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said there was "sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest" to charge the four officers.



James Welch, of Liberty, said: "Justice must take its course in this case. But, as both the Ian Tomlinson and this case suggest, equally important is that the methods and indeed the very existence of the TSG, with its militaristic approach, are urgently reviewed."



Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, a close friend of Ahmad, said: "I am pleased that the CPS decided to look at this incident again.



"Mr Ahmad's injuries, which he received £60,000 compensation for, show there are serious issues to be examined here surrounding the conduct of the arresting officers.



"It is important that these very serious allegations are properly considered in a criminal court, and that justice is seen to be done."



Green Party politician Jenny Jones, a member of the MPA, said: "We've known for many years that the TSG has needed reform.



"There have been consistent allegations of unnecessary aggression and brutality.



"I, for one, am tired of being assured by senior officers that all force has been 'reasonable' only to find out that it hasn't.



"It's difficult to believe even today that this same situation couldn't happen again. Urgent reform of the TSG is needed."



An MPA spokesman said: "This case has serious implications for policing in London. The allegations have damaged public confidence in the way police officers carry out their duties and Londoners have the right to expect that if found to have acted improperly, officers will be held to account.



"Once the legal process is concluded we will seek to publish and debate the findings of the Met review."

A Met spokesman said tonight it had restricted the duties of the four officers.



"The restrictions will be kept under review pending the conclusion of legal processes," he added.

* The men will appear on bail before City of Westminster magistrates' court on 22 September.

News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game