Judging by the various comments on the Twitter hashtag #Smellie I’m not the only one who is less than impressed with the not guilty verdict handed down by District Judge Daphne Wickham.
Quite what signal this sends to the Police I am not sure. Whatever it may be I doubt it’s a good one. It appears to legitimise coppers belting people with batons because that doesn’t count as assault. I know what signal it sends to the public: police can belt you with their batons and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it because you don’t matter.
I’ve got a laser printer roller in my spares box. A metal core with a rubber outer, about 15 inches long. If I go out and belt a copper (or anyone else) with it what’s the betting I’ll end up getting sentenced?
Remember that it was only when video footage of the assault incident went viral via The Guardian, YouTube and social networks that an investigation was started. We are now a year on from the G20 protests.
The BBC report above mentions that
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said Sgt Smellie could still face police disciplinary action.
But Dave Hill’s London Blog puts that point firmly into context:
Despite numerous IPCC investigations, no officer has faced serious disciplinary action and none have been successfully prosecuted.
That’s right, not one. So how’s your confidence in the system one year on?
This is a photo of the immediate aftermath of Sgt Smellie’s baton use on the protester who was armed with nothing more than an orange juice carton. Are orange juice cartons now classed as offensive weapons? If so then I’ve got three offensive weapons in my fridge.
Guy Aitchison pointedly asks “Is this assault?” – See the video footage for yourself. Then read the second comment. Very profound.
Then there is my own satirical take on the G20 policing, uploaded on April 20th 2009 – that’s last year. The question now must be is it satire or is it the truth?
When the reporting of the trial mentioned testimony in Sgt Smellie’s defence that he was “an extremely good officer” I was immediately reminded of the Blake’s 7 episode Trial.
Space Commander Travis (one of the bad guys) is put on trial. It’s a show trial to silence him but just because he’s gone mad doesn’t mean he’s stupid. He manages to make the opening statement to try and unsettle the judges and garner some support for his defence. Here’s part of that statement here (click the link below to play). I wonder if something like this was said at Sgt Smellie’s trial…?Blake's 7 Season 2 - Trial extract
In this case you’re damn right.
** Blake’s 7 was created by Terry Nation and the copyright is owned by the BBC. I intend no copyright infringement, I am merely highlighting the writer’s prescience in giving Travis lines which may well have been said (or something similar) in this case.**