Of­fi­cer cleared of teen punch

Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page - ANNA LEWIS anna.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

A JUDGE told a po­lice of­fi­cer who was ac­cused of punch­ing a 14-year-old boy that he thinks he com­mit­ted the of­fence – be­fore find­ing him not guilty.

A JUDGE told a po­lice of­fi­cer who was ac­cused of punch­ing a 14-year-old boy that he thinks he com­mit­ted the of­fence – be­fore find­ing him not guilty.

PC Paul Evans had been ac­cused of punch­ing a teenager three times and forc­ing his arm against his throat.

Last week, on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 24, he was ac­quit­ted of as­sault by beat­ing.

Dur­ing a three-day trial at Cardiff Mag­is­trates’ Court, ev­i­dence heard the Brid­gend of­fi­cer had been called to the boy’s fam­ily home in Jan­uary af­ter re­ports the teenager was “punch­ing walls” and “smash­ing up” the house.

Pros­e­cu­tor Vaughan Pritchard-Jones al­leged PC Evans, 50, be­came “frus­trated” at the sit­u­a­tion af­ter the boy re­fused to open the bath­room door he was locked in and told the of­fi­cer to “f*** off”.

In his ev­i­dence, the boy, who can­not be named for le­gal rea­sons, claimed the of­fi­cer forced the bath­room door open be­fore putting his fore­arm against the boy’s throat and punch­ing him three times in the face.

But PC Evans, from Brid­gend, said the teenager had “fab­ri­cated” the in­ci­dent and in­stead “face planted” the floor fol­low­ing a strug­gle over a mo­bile phone.

Giv­ing his ver­dict in court yes­ter­day, Dis­trict Judge Bod­fan Jenk­ins dis­missed claims the of­fi­cer had be­come frus­trated but said he be­lieved the de­fen­dant punched the boy.

He said: “De­spite the is­sues I have said with re­gard to ev­i­dence, I have to say I think the de­fen­dant did this.

“It is more likely than not that the de­fen­dant acted as al­leged but that is not suf­fi­cient.”

The judge said he must be sat­is­fied to a higher de­gree of cer­tainty be­fore con­vict­ing the of­fi­cer.

He said: “That means that the de­fen­dant is en­ti­tled to his ac­quit­tal. I find him not guilty.”

Su­san Fer­rier, de­fend­ing, de­scribed the boy as “ma­nip­u­la­tive” and said the teenager had be­come an­gry af­ter be­ing ar­rested by PC Evans for threat­en­ing to harm him­self and oth­ers with a knife.

The boy was later re­leased with­out charge.

She said: “[The fam­ily] were an­gry that they were not get­ting their own way and [the boy] was an­gry that he was be­ing ar­rested.

“Some­one had to be blamed for this and the ob­vi­ous per­son to blame of course is the per­son who is car­ry­ing out the ar­rest.”

The court also heard the boy had pre­vi­ously made a hoax call to po­lice re­port­ing a nail bomb at his school and had falsely ac­cused his un­cle of as­sault.

Dur­ing the trial, staff mem­bers at South Wales Po­lice de­scribed PC Evans as a “trusted” of­fi­cer and com­mu­nity rugby coach who had re­ceived a com­men­da­tion for sav­ing a man from a river and who had ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with chil­dren with be­havioural dif­fi­cul­ties.

In a state­ment is­sued af­ter the ac­quit­tal, Ca­trin Evans, IOPC di­rec­tor for Wales, said: “The IOPC car­ried out a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the use of force which led to the Crown Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice de­ci­sion to pros­e­cute PC Evans.

“We have found that PC Evans also has a case to an­swer for gross mis­con­duct.

“Dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings are cur­rently un­der con­sid­er­a­tion be­tween the force and the IOPC.”

PC Paul Evans

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