Police officer denies assaulting pro-Brexit demonstrator who 'punched him in face'

PC Connor Pennery says he used 'reasonable force' after allegedly being punched by protester

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 29 August 2019 14:12
The incident (not pictured) came at a weekly 'yellow vest' demonstration in London
The incident (not pictured) came at a weekly 'yellow vest' demonstration in London

A police officer has denied assaulting a pro-Brexit “yellow vest” protester and claimed the man punched him first.

Connor Pennery, a Metropolitan Police constable, is accused of elbowing the demonstrator in the face and then punching him four times as he lay on the ground.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the alleged victim, Terrence Dwyer, had assaulted police before trying to run away during scuffles at a march in London on 16 February.

Prosecutors accept that Mr Dwyer used force against police but said Mr Pennery used “excessive force” when he was being detained by other officers.

The officer, of Sawston in Cambridgeshire, is charged with assault by beating during the incident in Jermyn Street, central London.

Mr Pennery, who is attached to the Met's Territorial Support Group at Chadwell Heath in east London, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court heard that the 27-year-old officer will say he used “reasonable force that was not unlawful” after he was punched twice in the face by Mr Dwyer

He stood to confirm his name, date of birth and nationality as British before being asked to give his address in following a failed application by his lawyers to have it withheld.

Six other people were also charged over the demonstration, by a pro-Brexit group who adopted the yellow vests and tactics originally used by fuel tax protesters in France.

The UK "yellow vests" held a series of weekly protests in London that started in December and saw scuffles with police.

Mr Pennery, who has been placed on restricted duties, was charged by postal requisition earlier this month following an investigation by the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

District Judge Michael Snow granted him unconditional bail ahead of a trial due to start on 28 October at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Additional reporting by PA