Pc faces G20 manslaughter charge
Tuesday 24 May 2011
A Scotland Yard officer will be charged with killing Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests after a dramatic U-turn by Britain's top prosecutor.
Relatives of Mr Tomlinson reacted with delight as the Director of Public Prosecutions said there were now realistic chances of a manslaughter prosecution against Pc Simon Harwood.
Keir Starmer QC, who last year dismissed criminal charges, changed his mind after reviewing new medical evidence and an unlawful killing verdict by an inquest jury.
Pc Harwood, a father of two from Carshalton, Surrey, will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on June 20.
Mr Tomlinson, a homeless 47-year-old newspaper seller, collapsed and died on the fringes of the demonstrations in central London on April 1 2009.
Speaking after meeting Mr Starmer today, Mr Tomlinson's stepson Paul King said relatives were "really happy" as a court summons was issued against Pc Harwood.
"We are a big step closer to where we want to be," said Mr King, flanked by Mr Tomlinson's widow. "We should have been here two years ago but we are here now and we are more than happy."
The DPP, delivering his statement at the Crown Prosecution Service's headquarters in central London, said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind.
He added: "The difficulties that would now confront any prosecution have changed in nature and scale from last year when a decision was taken not to prosecute, although it is clear that real difficulties remain.
"Taking the evidence as it now stands, we have concluded that, even with those remaining difficulties, there is now sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of successfully prosecuting Pc Simon Harwood for the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson.
"That being the case, it is clearly in the public interest that criminal proceedings be brought.
"Accordingly, a summons charging Pc Harwood with the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson has been obtained from the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court."
Responding to the announcement, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: "This is clearly a very, very serious matter for all concerned."
He added: "I have got to be very, very concerned at an inquest verdict that returns a verdict of unlawful killing involving, as the inquest did, one of my police officers.
"My sympathies continue to be with the Tomlinson family."
The death became an international controversy after New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper.
The DPP launched a "thorough" review after the unlawful killing verdict was returned by a jury earlier this month.
CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggered away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.
Footage shows Mr Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.
Widow Julia said the death devastated her family, adding: "I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me."
General Election 2015: Tories suspend candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
Bali Nine executions: Indonesia confirms killings of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will go ahead
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 'Do not give them a reason': Baltimore man divides police and rioters in hope of avoiding violence
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour