by MONITOR

ON 1 April last year, during the London demonstrations against the G20 meeting then taking place, Ian Tomlinson, a newspaper seller, was hit with a police baton and pushed with force to the ground and died after struggling to walk away from the scene. He had not been involved in the demonstrations.

Yesterday the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keith Starmer, said that no charge would be brought against the policeman concerned because there was “no realistic prospect of getting a conviction.” Despite the existence of a video showing what happened Mr Starmer said that disagreements between doctors carrying out post-mortems would make a conviction impossible. Two doctors agreed that Mr Tomlinson died from “blunt force trauma and internal bleeding”; a third, Dr Freddy Patel, said that natural causes linked to a coronary artery disease was the cause. (Dr Patel is separately facing four charges of misconduct in relation to other post-mortems.)

Common sense suggests that a jury and not the Director of Public Prosecution should determine how Mr Tomlinson died and who was responsible according to the evidence, including the post-mortems. If the jury could not agree, at least the facts would have been brought out. Now nothing more will be known because the six month time limit for bringing an alternative charge of common assault has expired -- conveniently for the Metropolitan Police, it might be thought.

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