This case is interesting in that Wigan Magistrates convicted Mr Aspinall of assault on the Police and sentenced him to 3 months imprisonment suspended with a condition of 200 hours unpaid work. Mr Aspinall was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation - see The Times 1st December 2008. Mr Aspinall appealed his conviction to the Crown Court and the conviction was quashed - see Daily Mail 1st December 2008.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) managed an investigation into this matter and their brief statement may be read here. This report names the officers as Sergeant Stephen Russell, P.C. Richard Kelsall and Special Constable Lightfoot. The report informs us that charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice were brought and a further charge against Special Constable Lightfoot of perjury. Please see the Jack of Kent post.
Addendum 1st August 2010: See the Manchester Evening News report on the case dated 1st August.
Addendum 2nd August 2010: Special Constable Lightfoot was convicted by a jury of assault occasioning actual bodily harm to Mr Aspinall - see Manchester Evening News 2nd August. Lightfoot is also guilty of perjury which occurred at the Crown Court hearing of Aspinall's appeal. Further coverage of the verdict is on BBC News Manchester.
See also the IPCC statement relating to the conviction. Here is what they have to say:
It is clear from the evidence that Mr Aspinall was drunk, aggressive and causing a nuisance. He was exhibiting the kind of behaviour that police officers have the unfortunate duty to deal with on a regular basis. That is why officers are trained to deal with such individuals in a professional manner. However in this incident Special Constable Lightfoot's training would appear to have been replaced by a red mist. His actions were violent, excessive and unjustified.This makes it clear that Mr Aspinall's conduct left a great deal to be desired. Nevertheless, the assault occurred when he was down on the ground with 3 officers over him. Whatever Aspinall was up to in the Walkabout Bar occurred before the confrontation on the streets with the three officers. For whatever reason, it appears the Aspinall was not charged with any matter other than the assault on the Police for which he was later acquitted on appeal from the magistrates. The Magistrates' Court trial is interesting in that the magistrates did not have the benefit of any visual evidence but, on appeal, the Crown Court did. Another matter which is not reported is whether Aspinall had any legal representation in the Magistrates' Court. Legal Aid is not easy to get in the magistrates' court since the defendant has to pass both a means test and an interests of justice test. Where a charge is serious (as is Police Assault) then the interests of justice test is normally met since there is the possibility of imprisonment and unrepresented defendants have to face the difficulty of examining professional police witnesses. That is something which requires considerable forensic skill and ability.
I am grateful to Greater Manchester Police and our investigators for the thorough and professional work they have done in examining this matter. I have noted the jury’s decision in relation to the other officers and we respect that. The IPCC and Greater Manchester Police must still consider whether it is appropriate for any of the officers to be subject to misconduct action.”
Lightfoot will be sentenced at the beginning of September.