Police officer from Walthamstow cleared of assaulting boy in custody

PC Harrington, pictured outside court, has been found not guilty of assault.

PC Harrington, pictured outside court, has been found not guilty of assault.

First published in News
Last updated

A police officer from Walthamstow who kicked a 15-year-old boy in custody days after the London riots has been cleared of assault.


PC Joseph Harrington, 29, was accused of using unreasonable force to restrain the youth at Forest Gate police station back in August 2011.


The court heard he had worked 100 hours in the previous five days and had left the teenager "crying, coughing and spluttering" after allegedly stamping on his back following his arrest earlier in the day.


But PC Harrington denied the claims and said he had "stuck to his training" by pinning the boy down with his knee as he tried to reposition his handcuffs.
 

He admitted kicking the youth on the back of the legs but said this was a standard police technique and said the 15-year-old was being aggressive and abusive.


A jury took just 28 minutes of deliberations to unanimously clear PC Harrington, who lives in Chaucer Road.
 

The court heard that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had never previously been in trouble with the police at the time of the incident on August 11.


But since then he has been convicted of six offences, including obstructing powers of search, damaging property, possession of cannabis, and one count of battery committed while on bail.


Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said PC Harrington had been very tired and had lashed out.

He said: "Those who saw it considered that there was no justification for what the defendant did and the prosecution case is that there was neither justification nor lawful excuse for this officer's treatment of a young, handcuffed man, in his custody."


It was claimed that the incident took place days after a previous alleged confrontation when the youth claimed PC Harrington had put his hands round his neck.
 

The officer denied having contact with the teenager then but said he recognised him from several months earlier.

He said he knew from police intelligence that the boy was an "active street robber and gang member" who was known to be violent towards police.

PC Harrington told the court the boy had become aggressive and started "'jabbing his arms towards me…and shouting d****head."


He added: "I dropped my knee using some force, but it was a controlled dropped.
 

"I did not stamp on him at all. As soon as he said 'I can't breathe' I took my knee off."

Comments (9)

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1:10pm Wed 13 Mar 13

Cornbeefur says...

I am pleased the Officer was acquitted, he was obviously in a difficult situation and under provocation and pressure.

The trouble is these days some kids and youths want to act big in public situations and at school and goad Adults in Authority like Teaching Staff, who have limited power of redress or adequate discipline..
I am pleased the Officer was acquitted, he was obviously in a difficult situation and under provocation and pressure. The trouble is these days some kids and youths want to act big in public situations and at school and goad Adults in Authority like Teaching Staff, who have limited power of redress or adequate discipline.. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:33pm Wed 13 Mar 13

TTMAN says...

Lock this kid up
Lock this kid up TTMAN
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Wed 13 Mar 13

Trevor 2 says...

A good kick up the backside is what some of these yobbos need!
A good kick up the backside is what some of these yobbos need! Trevor 2
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Wed 13 Mar 13

topnote says...

Delighted that the jury had a lot more sense than the Crown Prosecution Service in clearing the Officer in 28 minutes. Hope now that the Officer does not have to face any internal action. The "victim" showed his true colours by being convicted of 6 offences. About time. I totally agree he should be locked up and the key thrown away.
Delighted that the jury had a lot more sense than the Crown Prosecution Service in clearing the Officer in 28 minutes. Hope now that the Officer does not have to face any internal action. The "victim" showed his true colours by being convicted of 6 offences. About time. I totally agree he should be locked up and the key thrown away. topnote
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Wed 13 Mar 13

topnote says...

Delighted that the jury had a lot more sense than the Crown Prosecution Service in clearing the Officer in 28 minutes. Hope now that the Officer does not have to face any internal action. The "victim" showed his true colours by being convicted of 6 offences. About time. I totally agree he should be locked up and the key thrown away.
Delighted that the jury had a lot more sense than the Crown Prosecution Service in clearing the Officer in 28 minutes. Hope now that the Officer does not have to face any internal action. The "victim" showed his true colours by being convicted of 6 offences. About time. I totally agree he should be locked up and the key thrown away. topnote
  • Score: 0

8:47am Thu 14 Mar 13

Wood street man says...

Ok, let's get this right. this poor chap has been cleared, so why the need to publish his photo, full name, and street where he lives....?
This is poor form, Police officers have enough to worry about whilst at work without the fear of undesirables knowing your home address as well.
Guardian - This is appalling
Ok, let's get this right. this poor chap has been cleared, so why the need to publish his photo, full name, and street where he lives....? This is poor form, Police officers have enough to worry about whilst at work without the fear of undesirables knowing your home address as well. Guardian - This is appalling Wood street man
  • Score: 0

10:30am Thu 14 Mar 13

Cornbeefur says...

Wood street man wrote:
Ok, let's get this right. this poor chap has been cleared, so why the need to publish his photo, full name, and street where he lives....?
This is poor form, Police officers have enough to worry about whilst at work without the fear of undesirables knowing your home address as well.
Guardian - This is appalling
Good point, quite appalling really.
[quote][p][bold]Wood street man[/bold] wrote: Ok, let's get this right. this poor chap has been cleared, so why the need to publish his photo, full name, and street where he lives....? This is poor form, Police officers have enough to worry about whilst at work without the fear of undesirables knowing your home address as well. Guardian - This is appalling[/p][/quote]Good point, quite appalling really. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Thu 14 Mar 13

tjm01 says...

Sounds like a right little charmer, bet he's parent(s) are really pround of him
Sounds like a right little charmer, bet he's parent(s) are really pround of him tjm01
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Thu 14 Mar 13

tjm01 says...

Sorry proud not pround
Sorry proud not pround tjm01
  • Score: 0

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