Chief Constable Matt Baggott to be sued over assault by police on teenager

Chief Constable Matt Baggott to be sued over assault by police on teenager

EXCLUSIVE: TWO PSNI officers who struck a teenage boy with a four tonne Land Rover leaving him with permanent leg damage won’t face internal disciplinarly charges.

Belfast Daily can reveal that the Police Ombudsman’s office has told the parents of the teenager that one of its senior officials has recommended NO charges to the PSNI’s Professional Standards Department (PSD) over the incident.

Earlier this month, we revealed that the Public Prosecution Service notified the boy’s parents in writing that the police officers will not face criminal charges in court.

Instead, the PPS said they could face internal disciplinary action by the PSD following an investigation into the case by the Police Ombudsman’s office.

But now in a phonecall, the Ombudsman has told the north Belfast family that the “case is over” and no disciplinary action will be taken after all.

The family of the schoolboy say they are “furious” at the decision and say they have instructed solicitors to launch an appeal against both Police Ombudsman’s ruling and the PPS decision.

And the family also plan to sue PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott over the incident for civil damages.

“This is not justice,” said the father, who is a former RUC officer.

Belfast Daily understands the ex-policeman is currently heading up an investigation team set up to probe disgraced RUC officers involved in the UDR4 murder trial.

The investigation team is made up of mainly former RUC officers from a specialist covert unit disbanded in 1994. It is also working to expose collusion between the PSNI and republican elements.

Added the father: “My son could have been killed and yet the Police Ombudsman and the PPS don’t even think to bring any charges at all, not even an internal disciplinary offence.

”He has been left with a permanent leg damage following the incident and can no longer do sports at schools.”

Belfast Daily understands that Police Ombudsman had recommended charges against two officers over the incident last year.

Investigators believe the attack by officers from a specialist Tactical Support Group (TSG) is linked to a ten-year campaigan of intimidation against his father, a former RUC officer.

A specialist team within the Police Ombudsman’s office was set up to probe the father’s complaints over the last decade against PSNI officers to see if the campaign of intimidation against him was sanctioned at a high level with the the service.

His 16-year-old son was walking home with friends on September 12 last year after a cross community group meeting when the drama unfolded in north Belfast.

In a statement to Ombudsman investigators, his son said: “At around 11pm I was standing with friends at the bottom of the Oldpark Road, north Belfast on the pavement when I seen a police Landrover approach from the Crumlin Road heading country wards.

“Without warning this police vehicle suddenly made a right turn unto the Oldpark Road and mounted the footpath heading straight for me and my friends.

“At first I froze then I realised it wasn’t going to stop so I turned around and began to run up the alleyway away from the speeding landrover.

“It continued to run at me and as I entered Shannon Court which is at the end of the alleyway I became aware that the vehicle was very close to me.

Four tonne armoured PSNI Landrover struck teenage boy in north Belfast

Four tonne armoured PSNI Landrover struck teenage boy in north Belfast

“As I tried to avoid it I believe either my leg or foot was struck by the landrover causing me to stumble forward.

“I thought at first it was going to crush me and I started to run again.

“I am not sure if I hit by knee on the ground or twisted on impact with the vehicle it happened so fast but I felt a sharp tearing pain in my knee as I continued to try to avoid being run over.

“As I tried to go up another alleyway I became aware that police officers on foot were pursuing me and as I looked around I could see they had batons drawn.

“They quickly caught up with me and one of them pushed a baton into my back as I was pinned to a wall up the alleyway. I at no time resisted the police and would regard this as an assault with the baton.

“I was then brought back to the landrover and questioned about what myself and my friends were doing I replied I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

“I heard one officer saying that I was almost killed and tried to blame that on me. After 10 minutes or so they told me to go away on and I did and reported the incident to my Dad . He attempted to talk to a senior officer but no one was available.

“My dad reported the incident to the Police Ombudsman the following day.”

Two senior PONI investigators, including its own CSI team, later visited the scene and took pictures and casts of wheel marks at where the teenager said he was struck by the Land Rover.

A number of CCTV recordings were also recovered including one from a local petrol station where the boys had earlier bought sweets.

Said his father: “I have been told that local police were unaware of any TSG unit operating on their patch that night.

“In fact, when BRC (Belfast Regional Control) attempted to contact any call sign who had been in contact with my son, it got no reply. This unit went totally silent.”

PONI investigators also took a statement from a witness who allegedly heard police talking about the incident.

He told investigators: “I heard one of the police officers saying to the other: ‘F**k me. You nearly killed him there.”’

Belfast Daily understands that seven police officer who were in the Land Rover that night have been spoken to by PONI investigators.

The driver of the four-tonne Landrover and his observer were both interviewed under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) by way of an Article 3 caution.

A file on the pair was sent to the Public Prosecution Service to consider bring charges against the officers of causing injury by reckless driving, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and a Section 42 offence of common assault.

A third officer was the PSNI’s Professional Standards Department (PSD) for a number of disciplinary offences.

The four other TSG officers may also be reported to PSD disciplinary offences related to the alleged assault.

The victim of the alleged assault told Belfast Daily that he has been to hospital several times for doctors to examine his leg injury.

The teenager said: “I have been X-rayed at the RVH hospital where I was then refered to Musgrave Park Hospital for an for a fully examination of the damage to my knee.

“I have been told that I have definitely cartilage damage and there maybe other internal damage too.

“Before this incident I and my friends had just came from the local filling station after buying sweets and were standing chatting. I have no idea why the Police acted the way they did.

“Since the incident, I have been attending a private clinic for my injury. The consultant said it is a similar type injury which happens to footballers and it is almost impossible to recover from.

“Now I can’t do any more sports at school.”

He added that as a result of the PPS decsion, he has now stopped all involvement in cross community activities.

“I won’t be doing any more cross community projects because they PSNI are involved. It is clear the police are now being run by republicans.”

His father said: “This was the latest in a long line of attacks on me personally and my family by the RUC/PSNI over the last ten years.

“The police have waged a personal vendetta against me and my family for too long. It stops now.

“At one stage I was told that no PSNI officer would speak to me. Even my personal details, including my home address, were posted online.

“We have no trust in Barra McGrory (director of Public Prosecutions Service) given that he use to be Gerry Adams’ solicitor.

“And we no longer have any faithin the Police Ombudsman’s office. Not to recommend any disciplinary offences is an absolute disgrace.

“The PSNI need to know that this is not over as far as I am concerned. No one gets away with trying to kill a member of my family. Not even the PSNI,” he added.







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