No5 barrister defends police officer cleared of assaulting a prisoner

Thu, 12 Sep 2019

Counsel at No5 Barristers’ Chambers led the defence of a police officer acquitted of assaulting a prisoner who claimed he was beaten and stamped on while in a cell.

Talbir Singh represented Police Sgt Howard Price, 52, from Halesowen, who retired this year. Sgt Price denied assault by beating as did detention officer Steve Orton, 50, from Walsall.

The two officers, who had been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court in a one-day trial.

Matthew Robinson claimed he was injured on November 11, 2018, after being repeatedly punched in the face and stamped on while in Oldbury custody unit.

Defending Sgt Price, Mr Talbir Singh said of Mr Robinson: “He was being aggressive and threatening. He was threatening violence towards officers and trying to leave his cell.”

Mr Singh added that Mr Robinson had been banging his head on the cell door which led him to be monitored. The court heard he also made threats to kill himself, a claim Mr Robinson denied.

Sgt Price told the court Mr Robinson was violently resisting and that he used tactics such as distraction strikes and sweep kicks to restrain him.

District Judge David Robinson, who reviewed CCTV footage, said both officers' welfare had been at risk and cleared them of all charges. He rejected claims that they had used disproportionate force and said he was satisfied that the detained man was actively resisting.

To read more about the case, visit: https://www.expressandstar.com/news/crime/2019/09/09/two-west-midlands-police-custody-officers-cleared-of-assault/

Talbir Singh is a member of the Crime Group at no5 Barristers’ Chambers. To view his profile, visit: https://www.no5.com/people/barristers/talbir-singh/

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