Pc to stand trial over G20 death

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The Independent Online

A Scotland Yard officer accused of killing Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests is to stand trial at the Old Bailey.

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.

Pc Simon Harwood, a father of two, was bailed until October 17 for a plea and case management hearing when he appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today charged with manslaughter.

The blond-haired 44-year-old, who appeared in the dock with his arm in a sling, spoke only to confirm his age, name and address.

Mr Tomlinson's wife, Julia, showed no emotion from the public gallery as District Judge Howard Riddle told Harwood: "Your case is sent for trial at the Central Criminal Court."

Harwood, from Carshalton, Surrey, gave his solicitor's address in Charing Cross, west London, as he appeared in the dock.

The officer, wearing a black suit and grey tie, looked down at his feet as he was awarded unconditional bail during the two- minute hearing.

The Director of Public Prosecutions charged Pc Harwood over the death after reviewing an inquest jury's unlawful killing verdict.

Lawyers said outside court that Harwood could face a trial in the new year.

DPP Keir Starmer QC previously said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind in launching proceedings.

His statement on the Crown Prosecution Service website says: "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."

Mr Tomlinson's 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.

CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggers away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.

Footage then shows Mr Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.

His widow has said the death devastated her family, adding: "I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me."