17 October 2011

Police officer denies killing Ian Tomlinson at G20 protest

Police officer denies killing Ian Tomlinson at G20 protest:
Simon Harwood appears in court charged with manslaughter over the newspaper seller's death in 2009
A Scotland Yard officer has denied killing Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests.
Tomlinson, a homeless 47-year-old newspaper seller, collapsed and died on the fringes of demonstrations in central London on 1 April 2009.
PC Simon Harwood, a father of two, showed no emotion as he stood in the dock at Southwark crown court in south London to enter his "not guilty" plea to a charge of manslaughter.
Relatives of Tomlinson gasped from the public gallery as Harwood, 40, denied the allegation against him.
Harwood, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie, spoke clearly and confidently to confirm his name before he was told: "You are charged on this indictment with manslaughter, that on 1 April 2009, you unlawfully killed Ian Tomlinson.
"How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?"
He answered boldly: "My Lord, not guilty."
Tomlinson's wife Julia wiped tears from her eyes, while his stepson Paul King hung his head and muttered "No".
Harwood's wife Helen showed no emotion during the 20-minute hearing.
The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, charged the officer over Tomlinson's death after reviewing an inquest jury's unlawful killing verdict.
Starmer previously said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind in launching proceedings.
Tomlinson's death became an international controversy after the New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper.
CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggers away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.
Footage then shows Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.
His widow has said the death devastated her family, adding: "I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Harwood is due to stand trial at Southwark crown court on 13 June.

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