December 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
A Metropolitan Police officer has told a court that he hit a suspect in the face in self-defence after the man spat at him.
Pc Rohan Scarlett, of Croydon, is accused of assaulting Andrew Uba as he put him in a police van at Islington station at 3am on February 20 this year. He denies common assault.
A trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard today that 47-year-old Scarlett was transferring Uba from Islington police station to custody in Lewisham.
The 6ft 1in police officer struggled with walking reluctant Uba to the van and was helped by a colleague, he said.
But as he put Uba inside the van without warning he spat at close distance in his face, Scarlett told the court.
He said: “Without any warning and no noise of phlegming up, he just spits in my face.
“A big lump went in my mouth and left eye and spray went over my face and vest.
“Because I hadn’t heard him bringing it up I thought he was going to spit at me again so I struck him in the face area.
“It was a clenched fist but loosely clenched.”
Former nightclub doorman and security guard Scarlett said he did not want to be assaulted again, and hit Uba to “distract him” from spitting a second time.
The court was shown a photograph from the scene in which a small pool of blood was on the seat where Uba had been sitting.
Scarlett said Uba trapped his left arm with his handcuffed wrists and pulled him inside the van after being thumped.
The defendant said he used his right hand to push away Uba’s face three or four times “so he couldn’t spit at me again”.
The father-of-two added that he then wiped the spit from his face and an Islington officer who was present at the van, Pc David O’Hara, told him he was in “a world of trouble”.
Pc O’Hara then “grabbed my right wrist and put some cuffs on saying I am under arrest on suspicion of GBH - I was in shock”, Scarlett said.
The crown alleged that Scarlett wiped his face of the spit, opened the van door then intentionally “launched” himself at Uba, punching him twice.
Dilichi Onuzo, prosecuting, said: “This was not self defence at all.
“You were so disgusted at being spat at you launched at Mr Uba and punched him.”
Pc O’Hara has said he physically tried to remove Scarlett from the suspect but was not strong enough.
He said he told Scarlett after the punch “we don’t do that”, to which he alleges Scarlett replied “yeah we do”.
Scarlett, who has been an officer for eight years and has an unblemished career, said today Pc O’Hara was lying.
The court heard from colleagues of Scarlett who talked of his calm nature and his excellence as a communicator with little need for physical violence.