Policeman guilty of punching man who spat in his mouth faces sentencing

Pc Rohan Scarlett, 47, was convicted of common assault last month after lashing out at a restrained man he was putting into a police van

A police officer who has been found guilty of punching a suspect after he spat in his mouth will be sentenced today.

Pc Rohan Scarlett, 47, faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail after the incident in February this year when he was putting a man into a police van.

Metropolitan Police officer Scarlett was assisting with the transfer of Andrew Uba from Islington police station to custody in Lewisham, south-east London, when without warning the suspect spat at close distance into his face.

Pc Scarlett told the court earlier that Mr Uba’s spit went into his mouth and eyes and, in disgust and self-defence fearing the suspect would spit again, he lashed out, punching towards his face.

But Pc David O’Hara, who was working alongside Pc Scarlett, told the court that his fellow officer in fact shut the door, wiped the spit of his face, then opened it again and “launched” himself at Mr Uba.

Pc Scarlett said Islington officer Pc O’Hara then “grabbed my right wrist and put some cuffs on saying I am under arrest on suspicion of GBH - I was in shock” and physically tried to remove Scarlett from the suspect but was not strong enough.

He told Pc Scarlett after the punch “we don't do that”, to which Pc Scarlett replied “yeah we do”, the court heard.

Pc Scarlett had previously served in the police force for an unblemished eight years, before which he was a night club bouncer and a security guard.

Prosecuting, Dilichi Onuzo said: “This was not self-defence at all.

“You were so disgusted at being spat at you launched at Mr Uba and punched him.”

And delivering a guilty verdict on 27 August at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, chairwoman of the bench Sue Rose said: “We do not accept that the defendant honestly believed that he needed to use force to defend himself in these circumstances.”

Pc Scarlett has been suspended from duties while the case is being heard, and his defence barrister, Tom Godfrey, said his client would be appealing against the verdict.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence