Saturday 31 July 2010

The Face Of The Officer Accused Of Killing Ian Tomlinson

Meet PC Simon Harwood (right), the Territorial Support Group police officer who is accused of hitting Ian Tomlinson and causing his death.

Yesterday this photo was circulated by his solicitors Reynolds Dawson to the editors of all the national newspapers for publication, in an attempt to ensure that photographers didn't camp outside his home in Carshalton in Surrey. The Sun ran the picture about an hour ago on its website.

In their letter, Reynolds Dawson allege that there has been "a great deal of threatening material published about him on the internet which has caused him and his family great concern". They are presumably alluding to the disbelief and outrage at the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions to take no action over Ian Tomlinson's death, causing considerably more than 'great concern' to Ian's family. However, Harwood's lawyers go on to say that "he is aware that the media will not allow his family and neighbours any peace until it has a photograph of him, and he has taken the view that the only way to protect them from harassment by the photographers camped outside their addresses is to provide one". They add:

For the avoidance of doubt, it would be inappropriate for PC Harwood to comment publicly on the Director of Public Prosecution's decision or on other proceedings in the way that others have chosen to. Accordingly, there could be no legitimate purpose in approaching PC Harwood for further comment.

Now personally, I'm not interested in what Harwood has to say about anything unless it is in the dock and in front of a jury. Equally, anything that prevents his lawyers from trying to argue in future that a fair trial is impossible, because of intense interest from newspapers more interested in headlines than justice, has to be good. After all, there still remains a realistic possibility that the DPP's decision may be subject to legal challenge and that Harwood may yet have to account for his actions in court.

But given how shocking this case is, it is still important to be able to put a face to the name. Anonymity granted to police officers normally extends far beyond what ordinary members of the public can ever expect - not unlike the kind of different treatment routinely granted to police whenever they are accused of causing someone's death.

Thanks to BristleKRS for providing this info - a PDF copy of the letter from Reynolds Dawson is now available from his blog

1 Comment:

Mama Lou said...

He should be in gaol...

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