A few days ago the CPS finally drew their investigation of the death of Ian Tomlinson to a close. It took them nearly 16 months. Now, given the very serious nature of the events and the considerable public scrutiny focused on the case, it is not unreasonable for the investigation to have taken longer than is normal. However this strikes me as an inordinately long time to investigate, but I will return to this point later.
I’d like to start with the video of the incident, which was obtained by The Guardian shortly after Mr Tomlinson’s death.
You can quite clearly see a police officer (who has not, as far as I’m aware, been named and is referred to as PC A in the CPS report) strike Mr Tomlinson (herafter referred to as ‘V’) from behind with his baton and then push him to the ground. It is the unquestionable nature of this evidence which is fuelling much of the outcry at the CPS’ decision. I’m not going to be referring back to this because my concerns are mainly with the puzzling law behind the CPS but I think it’s important to see as it emphasises that there is strong evidence for the prosecution.
The full statement issued by the CPS can be found here. I shall be quoting it throughout, but it’s useful to read the whole thing if you are so inclined.
PC ‘A’, who was behind the dog handler, moved forward and using his baton struck Mr Tomlinson on the left thigh. Almost immediately he pushed Mr Tomlinson very strongly in the back. This push caused Mr Tomlinson to fall heavily to the floor and, because he had his hands in his pockets, he was unable to break his fall.
So the CPS fully accept that PC A struck V and pushed him from behind (not that they could contest it, with the video evidence, they’re not that stupid). This makes the conclusions they come to all the more baffling.