A West Midlands Police Officer who was initially found guilty of assaulting a man after he deployed his Home Office approved Taser during an incident at a train station in the Midlands, has had his conviction quashed on appeal.
PC Andrew Spiby had been given a suspended sentence at Birmingham Crown Court following a trial this year (2019) that lasted two days.
PC Spiby had been found guilty of assault after deploying his Taser while his colleague, PC Severns, was cleared of the same charge.
The 56-year-old officer was given a 16-week custodial sentence which was suspended for one year.
He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of community service as well as paying the alleged victim £500 in compensation.
But the British Transport Police Federation confirmed that following the appeal hearing, the officer has now been cleared.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the BTP federation said:
“Our colleague, PC Andrew Spiby, has had his common assault conviction quashed at Birmingham Crown Court.
“We are pleased by this verdict, but we must question why the matter got this far.
“It is extremely difficult to fully understand what goes through an officer’s mind as they assess what’s happening in front of them.
“There is a world of difference between an officer acting with an honestly held belief about the threat facing them or others, and an officer deliberately and recklessly intending to harm someone.
“The latter is completely unacceptable, but the former is a split-second decision made with the benefit of both training and experience.
“We are pleased this has been recognised today and that PC Spiby’s appeal has been upheld by the courts.
“This has been an extremely difficult and stressful time for him, and this Federation will continue to support him.”
On 28th May 2018, BTP Officers were called to a disturbance involving a group of passengers on one of the station’s platforms.
Two aggressive males were subsequently arrested at the scene, and PC Spiby had deployed a Taser on one of the suspects.
PC Severns had also used his incapacitant spray on the male in an attempt to try and subdue him during the incident.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the case had been referred to them after the man involved complained about the level of force used on him during the incident.
He also complained about the effect the incident had on other members of his family, who were also present at the scene.
In its statement, the BTP Federation said: “We hope the IOPC use this case as guidance when considering similar circumstances in the future.”
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