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Day: May 24, 2011

Now let us allow PC Simon Harwood a fair trial

Ok I know that title sounds surprising but we need to allow the full judicial system to play out before we convict. In the court of public opinion PC Simon Harwood is guilty of manslaughter and there is nothing we can do to stop that. However like everyone who is charged with an offence, the man deserves to have a fair trial with twelve jurors who have open minds and will make their decisions based solely on the evidence put to them in court.

I know I have my opinions and they are clearly the same as the majority. I have little doubt about that. However doctors will have their say and we must wait for what they have to say. One thing I will say though is I cannot believe that other officers are not standing trial with PC Simon Harwood for lying to the inquiry – both the internal and external one about what happened on that day. Had the video not come out of PC Simon Harwood striking Ian Tomlinson then we would have been none the wiser. Fellow officers that day tried to cover-up what may well have been a very serious crime and for that they deserve to face trial for those charges. Had I covered-up a crime and lied to police then I would be facing court so why aren’t PC Simon Harwood’s fellow officers on duty that day in London for the G20 protests?

As someone who has been a juror and a foreman of a jury I can tell you that jury rooms are very interesting places. I sat on two cases and one was a no-brainer where everyone in that room believed that the bouncers had started the fight with the two defendants and not the other way round so we very quickly acquitted the two defendants on all sevens charges. The next case though was harder as emotionally it was harder to remove personal feelings for some from the evidence presented in open court. We were torn for several hours until the Not Guilty part of the room were able to hammer home that we could only use what we were told in open court as part of our deliberations. So from 8-4 we got to 11-1 and still it took several hours to convince the final juror that we had to find the suspect Not Guilty.

Now this wasn’t some piddly little case. It was serious sexual assault against a 10 year-old girl. So you can see why there was a lot of emotional involvement from some jurors. The case was big enough that all the local media were in the courtroom for the verdict. Was he guilty? He may well have been but the prosecution did not convince me (or the majority of the jury) in any way shape or form. The evidence was flimsy and circumstantial at best. I don’t lose any sleep over it because I firmly believe in innocent until proven guilty and the same must be sad for PC Simon Harwood when he comes to trial.

I hope justice is done – whatever that may be. Be he innocent or guilty. What I will say is he deserves the right to a fair trial with twelve good people who will only listen and watch the evidence supplied in court. The court of Public Opinion is not the Courts of Justice and that distinction needs to be made.

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