A Metropolitan Police officer who was found guilty of causing actual bodily harm following an investigation by the IOPC has had his conviction quashed by the court of appeal.
PC Gareth Head was off-duty when the incident occurred back in May 2018. He got into an altercation with a taxi driver following a night out in Brentwood. The taxi driver alleged that the officer had accused him of using drugs prior to the altercation occurring.
After the altercation, the taxi driver left the scene and called Essex Police to report the incident. He alleged that the officer has punched him twice. He was later treated for injuries to his jaw sustained during the confrontation with PC Head.
Two months after the incident, the taxi driver recognised the officer, took down his vehicle registration mark and contacted the Essex Police officer who was investigating the assault.
Once it transpired that a police officer was involved in the altercation, the matter was then investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who, following a nine-month investigation, handed their file of evidence against PC Head to the Crown Prosecution Service.
PC Head was then charged with racially aggravated actual bodily harm and actual bodily harm.
A jury at Basildon Crown Court later acquitted PC Head on the racially aggravated charge, and the jury could not reach a verdict regarding the second charge of ABH.
A second five-day trial occurred again at Basildon Crown Court, and the jury found him guilty of ABH.
He resigned from the Metropolitan Police, and a misconduct hearing held shortly after the court proceedings found that the officer would have been dismissed had he not already left the force.
PC Head was sentenced to a community order for 12 months and was subject to a three-month curfew, meaning he could not leave his house between 21:00 and 06:00 hours.
He was also ordered to pay £1,750 towards the cost of the trial and a victim surcharge of £85.
Speaking after the result, IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem:
“PC Head’s behaviour fell far short of what is expected of a police officer and he now has a criminal conviction to his name.
“Our thorough investigation found a case to answer for gross misconduct against the officer and we will now progress that with the force.”
The Met Police held a misconduct hearing on 13th April 2022 into the officer’s actions.
The officer resigned before the hearing and ceased to be an officer as of April 9 2022. He did not attend the proceedings but was represented by a Federation Representative.
The chair, Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, found PC Head breached the standards of professional behaviour concerning discreditable conduct at the level of gross misconduct.
Had he remained a serving officer, he would have been dismissed. He was also placed on the College of Policing (CoP) Barred List.
However, a press release published on the IOPC’s website today (16th November) revealed that the Court of Appeal subsequently squashed the officer’s conviction on 10th August 2022.
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So PC Head’s conviction was quashed because the IOPC were inept at their investigation and that doesn’t get much of a mention! 4 years of hell and they’ve finally put out an update that he was acquitted. Nothing from senior officers either.
Judgement is here; https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ewca/crim/2022/1294