A police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a court accepted he had used proportionate and reasonable force on a drunken man at the scene of a domestic argument.
Pc Jack Green, 28, was found not guilty of assault by beating after District Judge Shamim Qureshi said the alleged victim was a “person of no credibility whatsoever” whose evidence had been partly “guesswork”.
Pc Green told Birmingham Magistrates’ Court he had been left with no option but to deliver a “distraction strike” to the face of Lavinder Gadu after being sent to a 999 call-out in Penn, Wolverhampton.
Prosecutor Alex Warren had claimed video from a police body-worn camera – and mobile footage filmed by a witness – showed Gadu, who is aged in his 30s, being assaulted at the home of his partner and her teenage daughter.
The court heard that whilst en route to the address Pc Green and a colleague were told the 999 caller had said her partner was very drunk and had been looking for knives.
Finding Pc Green not guilty part-way through the defence case, District Judge Qureshi said he did not need to hear from a use of force expert called by the defence.
The district judge told the court: “There is no need to (hear from the expert) in view of the evidence that I have already heard.
“We have got the body-worn footage from the cameras, which is extremely helpful. The person who gets off scot free out of this whole incident is Lavinder Gadu.”
District Judge Qureshi also said the mobile phone footage clearly showed the use of force in a doorway at about 7.30pm on February 16 2021 had been reasonable.
Noting that Mr Gadu had made a misogynistic comment at the scene, the judge added: “We have a person of that ilk who the police are having to deal with.
“He says when he was punched he had a displaced nose. He suggests that the injury may have been caused by the police officer but that’s nothing more than pure guesswork.
“It is quite clear that the whole case really stands or falls upon the mobile phone video footage. It’s quite clear that he (Mr Gadu) was reluctant to be arrested and was not co-operating.
“The video footage shows that Lavinder Gadu was moving his hand towards Jack Green.
“Mr Green has explained that there were more extreme measures that he could have used but didn’t. He used the soft part of his inner forearm to strike Lavinder Gadu and managed to restrain him for a while further.
“It’s quite clear that the officer’s use of force was reasonable in the circumstances and proportionate to the threat as he perceived it.”
During the Crown’s opening speech, the court was shown a 16-minute video of the incident, which ended with the alleged victim being arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage.
The complainant was not prosecuted for any offence, the court was told, while Pc Green was charged after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Pc Green told the court in his evidence that he feared he was about to be punched, and the tactic he had used had the desired effect.
“The only other option would have been to get up and retreat,” he said. “I didn’t feel the threat to me was such that I should abandon my duty.
“It felt like a literal point of no return. I either did something or I believe I am about to get punched in the head.”
Handcuffs had not locked, the officer said, leaving one of Mr Gadu’s hands “held in by spit and a prayer”.
Explaining his decision to deliver the “hard” strike, which he conceded could have caused serious injury, the officer added: “Essentially he had turned the tables at the most inopportune time.”