On 1st April 2009, a newspaper seller called Ian Tomlinson was returning to his home, through the middle of the G20 protests. He was not part of those protests. He was struck from behind, by a masked policeman who had covered up his identity numbers, and fell to the ground. A few minutes later, Ian Tomlinson was dead (previously on mefi
Today, the Crown Prosecution Service
(motto 'Fair, Fearless and Effective') announced that there would be no criminal charges against the policeman (CPS statement
, Guardian coverage
At first the police reported that he died of a heart attack. This was not true. Then they reported that he had not come into contact with any of their officers. This was not true. Then they reported that he had come into contact with their officers, when they tried to help him amidst a hail of bottles from protesters. This was not true. An American fund manager on a visit to the UK realised that he had captured the assault on Ian Tomlinson on camera, and the video was seen around the world
. The police officer did not come forward immediately, but was eventually suspended, and the Crown Prosecution Service started its consideration.
Today, Keir Starmer
(director of the CPS and previous winner of Justice/Liberty's human rights lawyer of the year award), announced that no charges could be brought. The main reason was the conflicting pathologists' reports meant that there was no reasonable chance of mounting a prosecution.
The first pathologist backed the police story that Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. A second pathologist found that he had actually died from internal bleeding. A third, appointed on behalf of the police officer, supported the second finding. The first pathologist is today in front of a General Medical Council hearing, accused of arriving at questionable verdicts on four deaths. In another case, not included in the GMC hearing due to procedural errors
, he determined that a woman found naked and dead in a man's house had died of natural causes. The man later went on to murder two other women, and confessed to the killing of the first woman.
The CPS state that there was one that could have been pursued successfully - common assault. This charge, however, can only be made within six months of the incident.
The CPS (motto, Fair, Fearless and Effective) took sixteen months to reach this decision.