A man has been found NOT GUILTY of assaulting two police officers even though it is reported that the male laid into the police officers with repeated kicks and punches and then later brandished a knife towards them.
The incident occurred after the police confused the identity of the male with his brother and tried to arrest him.
Magistrates sitting at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court judged that the police officers involved in the incident did not have reasonable grounds to touch Luthfur Ahmed, 25, of Garden Close in Bungay, before they tried to arrest him on 12th May.
PC Mark Graham, based at Lowestoft Police station, and PC Callum Walchester, of Acle Road and Firearms Police, had both suffered minor injuries, but magistrates determined that PC Graham should not have taken hold of Ahmed’s arm before stating he was under arrest.
The Court was told about how the incident was further complicated by the fact that the police officers were under the false belief that Ahmed was in fact his younger brother, Shaif Ahmed, 24, who police had a warrant for and who was disqualified from driving.
In court, the prosecution argued that the police officers had a reasonable justification for taking hold of Ahmed’s arm based on the fact that the officers had stated that the hold was necessary in order to “prevent his disappearance further”.
Many people will be baffled by the decision made by the magistrates which seems to imply that you are entitled to violently resist the police if you know that you are not the person that the police are looking for, even when the police have a genuinely held belief that you are!?
Isn’t the point of an arrest to enable, in part, the police to make further enquiries?
We aren’t told as to how compliant Ahmed was in relation to being cooperative with the police’s lawful demands before they made the decision to arrest Ahmed.
In their judgement, bench chairman Sylvia Bond said the magistrates believed the officer had the time to inform Ahmed he was going to be arrested and were not satisfied there was an immediate need to arrest him.
The actions of the two police officers were criticised by the defence counsel, with Matthew McNiff, representing Ahmed, calling PC Graham’s actions “frightening”.
How being ‘frightened’ of the police in any way ‘justifies’ the subsequent assault on the police officers as they tried to fulfill their duty is, quite frankly, beyond me.
We are not talking about being grabbed by complete strangers here – we are talking about police officers who are entrusted by the public to carry out their duty without the fear of being assaulted.
In his closing statement McNiff told the court that:
“Both police officers seem to believe that they have this almighty power that they can take hold of someone without telling them why.
“The only reason he [Ahmed] did then lose common sense was because he was taken hold of.”
Ahmed is due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to one charge of threatening or abusive behaviour at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on October 31.
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