The G20 result: Ian Tomlinson case

July 23, 2010

I don’t know too much about this case other than the fact that the CPS have decided not to prosecute the officer involved in pushing Ian Tomlinson. The issue here seems to be that there was not the prospect of a conviction for manslaughter because expert opinion was mixed as to whether the push caused the death or not.  The PSD team will be quaking in their heels; just who is going to deal with this inside the Met? I guess the officer will be subject to discipline; the question is; will this result in the loss of his job? There must be a reason, a build up as to why he pushed Tomlinson; there must be.



  1. What Officer in a public order situation hasn’t pushed someone because they won’t move along?

    The customer doesn’t usually fall over though.

    It was a tragic accident, but an accident that no one could have foreseen.

    It might be a different matter if it was an 87 yr old granny with a walking stick.

    • A more careful analysis of the video footage shows what a deliberate and calculated assault PC Simon Harwood carried out. Harwood came at Tomlinson, an innocent bystander, from behind, without any warning, struck him first with the baton to disable Tomlinson’s left leg and then placed his foot behind Tomlinson’s right leg before striking him hard from behind so that he must fall forward without any chance of regaining his balance. Harwood did this without any cause but clearly with the intention of causing harm and entirely recklessly as to the consequences.

      Forget manslaughter. This is more than enough to substantiate a charge of murder.

      It is clear that PC Simon Harwood is a thug who should and hopefully still will suffer severe punishment for his conduct on that fateful day. He must, at least, be dismissed from the police.

      The far, far more important question is about the integrity of the DPP. He has failed himself, every lawyer, policeman and citizen through this grave misjudgment. I do not understand how such an obviously intelligent man can make such a crass mistake. Any concern for the “public interest” at all would have resulted in putting all the points at issue before a jury and that is what should have happened.

      The CPS has either been incompetent, corrupt or both.

  2. Along with millions of other concerned citizens, I am disgusted, appalled and outraged at the decision not to prosecute PC Simon Harwood.

    Keir Starmer’s statement was riddled with errors and obvious inconsistencies. He is clearly unfit for the office of DPP and should be removed immediately.


  3. Every trainee Police Officer learns that there is a 6 month time limit for prosecuting traffic offences, common assault, public order etc.

    Looks like IPCC/CPS didn’t realise.

  4. “It was a tragic accident, but an accident that no one could have foreseen”.

    Many prefer a drink with the main meal and Blueknight prefers a morsel with his drinks.

  5. MTG – Please try not to get personal re: Bluenight. I think you miss the point Bluenight is saying; no one could have predicted death following a push. Peter I am afraid you cannot have murder in this instance; there is no pre meditation to kill.

    The Issue of linking the push with the death of Mr Tomlinson remains a key issue. As I have said I do not know why the officer did what he did.

    The first thing is a life has been lost; the secondary element is all the subsequent issues that have followed.

    • Intent to cause harm and recklessness as to the outcome? I think that constitutes murder.

  6. “A person commits the crime of murder if with intent to cause the death of another person, he causes the death of that person or of another person,or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another person.”

    Peter, there is no way anyone can show that a police officer was intent in causing the death of Ian Tomlinson, and that is the point Bluenight is making. I happen to agree with Bluenight.

    I understand public anger and we all wish Ian Tomlinson was still alive but it is horrendously naive to suggest that the police officer in this case had inent to cause his death when he struck him and pushed him.

    Note what Bluenight says, “What police officer hasn’t pushed someone in a public order situation?” This is a key area.

    I also agree with PC Bloggs; this case will damage the reputation of the police.

    • I don’t think Thug Harwood did intend to kill Ian Tomlinson. I think he intended to cause him harm and was entirely reckless about the outcome. If you examine the footage youi will see that Harwood’s attack wasn’t a couple of random blows. It was a carefully contrived sequence of moves that meant Tomlinson would inevitably fall to the floor without being able to protect himself. If that amounts only to manslaughter then I defer to your greater legal expertise but I believe manslaughter can still carry a life sentence.

      We all wish Ian Tomlinson was still alive – true. However, with great respect to the family and all concerned he is dead and gone. Harwood is still living the life of Riley in Carshalton or wherever else he’s run away to crawl under a stone. In a civilised society, in the Big Society, it is incumbent upon all of us to see that he is brought to justice – whatever that takes.

      I think this case, on top of Sgt Delroy Smellie, on top of what we all saw at the Gaza and G20 protests, on top of the Raoul Moat debacle, Stephen Lawrence, Damian Green, Baby P, ever increasing police incompetence, on top of the bad personal experience that most people now seem to have had with the police…

      I think the reputations of the police, the CPS and the IPCC are entirely destroyed. The public has no confidence in any of them and is no longer fooled by the great deception that they are somehow independent of each other.

  7. “MTG – Please try not to get personal re: Bluenight.”

    Please watch the double standards, Sgt Twining and I refer you to your earlier derision and caricaturing of colleague, Sue Simm.

    A strange hypocrisy creeps amongst the vestments of police blogs, like body lice on indifferent tramps.

  8. MTG – point noted. The difference is Sue Simms is typical of the bureacratic and very unequal establishment.

    Everything that is wrong with policing and police leaders was evident in Sue’s skills.

    There are no double standards. After having a go on most blogs at other police bloggers you do the same here.

    Peter – The public have little control over policing. Some police leaders will try and build trust and then get promoted but what will really change? The issue still remains conflicting evidence from medical experts. Should the matter have been refered to Crown Court? Perhaps. Even then I doubt that the finding would have been manslaughter. With this in mind a likely outcome might have been assault. But in public order situations police officers are required to use some force sometimes. It would be wrong to try the officer for affray also. That just leaves common assault and we are outside of the time limit.

    Of course something needs to be done; but any action taken must be proportionate. I know nothing of this officer therefore to call him a thug without knowing him is not so good. As I have said already I expect the officer will be disciplined.

    • “Should the matter have been refered to Crown Court? Perhaps. Even then I doubt that the finding would have been manslaughter.”

      There can be no doubt that it was essential in the interests of justice and in the public interest that the issues in question should be put before a jury. Whatever the outcome, guilty or not, whatever the charge, I could live with a jury’s decision. I can’t live with Starmer’s. He must go.

      I understand, of course, that there will be occasions when a police officer has to use force. I am a strong supporter of the police. The concomitant of that is that when force is used the police must be beyond reproach. Indeed, in such circumstances, we are entitled to expect a higher standard of behaviour from a trained police officer than from a member of the public.

      I have no difficulty at all in calling Harwood a thug from the evidence of my own eyes and his now well-known antecedents. Neither would I have any difficulty in seeing him charged with affray, misfeasance in a public office or any charge which would achieve justice.

  9. I withdraw my last comment; hastily made in a climate of deteriorating public relations.

  10. To expand on my earlier comment on another blog, it would have cost the taxpayers a lot of money, it may not have been expedient or appropriate to do it, but it would have brought a better sense of closure if the Officer had been found Not Guilty by a Court rather than by CPS.

  11. ‘I expect The officer will be disciplined.’

    The cowardly low life scumbag KILLED an innocent civilian.

    The pig should be taken out of society for the protection of the public, which I thought was supposed to be the main duty of the police.

  12. Mrs MOP – There is no need to refer to the police as pigs. We cannot prove that the officer dealt the blow that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson and that is the point. Of course the duty of the police is to protect.

    MTG – a good move to retract; apology accepted on behalf of Bluenight.

    Bluenight – thanks for clarifying.

  13. Skynews: The officer is to face gross misconduct charges.

  14. And so he should but I hope this doesn’t interfere with the still very real possibility of criminal charges.

  15. Discipline and criminal charges run as seperate entities. There can be no criminal charges now.

    • So has he been let off the criminal hook because the discipline charges have been brought? Surely not. The CPS were clear that they would reconsider charges after the coroner’s inquest.

  16. Charges can be considered again, my mistake.

  17. He could have been charged with a criminal offence AND disciplined. It is what is known as double jeopardy.

    Common assault could have been charged, but the 6 month time limit for proceedings has expired. Other charges such as Actual Bodily Harm, Grievous Bodily Harm or manslaughter could be considered (again), but from what CPS said there is no evidence that links the fall to the death.

    This case is well and truly in the ‘somebody should do something category’ and I suspect the discipline result will be more severe than usual as a direct result of CPS or the IPCC or both cocking up the 6 month time limit…

  18. There we have it; it’s time for the CPS and IPCC to declare themselves incompetent!

    • There’s no doubt about that at all – unless you think they deliberately procrastinated precisely to avoid bringing charges. I don’t think so. You might also think that they announced their decision not to prosecute just a week before the parliamentary recess in order to avoid proper scrutiny. I suspect this is probably true.

      There’s no doubt in my mind that there is both incompetence and corruption at the CPS. However, as with most things in life, the explanation is usually cock-up rather than conspiracy. All Keir Starmer cares about is his peerage and we should all do all we can to cock that up.

      The most important thing is justice for Ian Tomlinson and his family. That’s what we should all be focused on.

  19. I just think they have been incompetent that’s all. Some Junior CPS and IPCC staff will be kicked up the backsides for this. Their promotions will be affected for a few years too! I do like the word you use to describe me!

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