Officer cleared of assault on female G20 protester

| Apr. 1, 2010 |

Published by The Independent [PDF]

A police sergeant accused of assaulting a female G20 activist with his baton was acquitted yesterday.

Sgt Delroy Smellie appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court after YouTube footage showed him striking protester Nicola Fisher with the back of his hand and then twice with a baton.

The officer told the court that he had taken the difference in size between himself and Ms Fisher into account. "I thought that the most reasonable level of force would be a flick with the hand as a distraction clearance," he said.

An officer in the Territorial Support Group (TSG), Sgt Smellie was charged with assault by beating and suspended from duty following Ms Fisher's complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). He could still face misconduct proceedings and possible police punishment.

District Judge Daphne Wickham said there was no evidence that his use of the baton was not approved, correct or measured.

She said the officer had a "mere seven seconds" to act, amid fears over safety, and said that the tense atmosphere in the area in the City of London in April last year "empowered Ms Fisher to get involved in a strongly exhibitionist and aggressive way".