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Ian Tomlinson death: Simon Harwood cleared of manslaughter

19th July 2012

A policeman has been acquitted of killing Ian Tomlinson during G20 protests in London by striking the 47-year-old bystander with a baton and pushing him to the ground as he walked away from police lines.

The jury at Southwark crown court on Thursday cleared PC Simon Harwood, 45, a member of the Metropolitan police’s elite public order unit, the Territorial Support Group, of manslaughter following one of the most high-profile cases of alleged police misconduct in recent years.

Harwood told the court that while in retrospect he “got it wrong” in seeing Tomlinson as a potentially threatening obstruction as police cleared a pedestrian passageway in the City on the evening of 1 April 2009, his actions were justifiable within the context of the widespread disorder of that day.

Speaking outside the court, the Tomlinson family said: “It’s not the end, we are not giving up for justice for Ian.” They said they would now pursue a civil case.

The jury’s verdict, after four days of deliberations, brings about something of a legal contradiction: 14 months ago another jury, at the inquest into Tomlinson’s death, ruled that he was unlawfully killed by Harwood. The inquest ruling was made on the same standard of proof as a criminal trial, that is, beyond reasonable doubt.

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