A POLICE officer unlawfully Tasered a naked man who threw a pair of underpants at him during a strip search in Wiltshire, a court heard. PC Lee Birch, 31, discharged his weapon into the bare chest of Daniel Dove in a cell at Melksham Police Station.
Birch had arrested Mr Dove earlier that morning, on December 23, 2012, outside Moo Moo nightclub in Trowbridge, Bristol Crown Court heard. Mr Dove was charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting PC Birch and a second officer, though the case against him was later dropped.
Birch was then charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and misconduct in a public office, which he denies.
Prosecuting, Robin Shellard told a jury Birch had used the “prohibited weapon” in a way that was not “necessary, lawful or proportionate”.
“Mr Dove had been taken to a police station in Melksham, where he was placed in a cell and subjected to a strip search,” Mr Shellard said.
“During the course of the strip search, when he was naked, a Taser was used against him by PC Birch. It affected his bodily functions, made him collapse to the ground and curl up in a ball.” The court was told Mr Dove had been ejected from Moo Moo nightclub by doormen, who asked Birch and PC David Read to attend at 2am.
Mr Dove allegedly punched Birch during his arrest and repeatedly kneed PC Read in the groin – claims he strenuously denies. The officers, of Wiltshire Police, then took Mr Dove to Melksham Police Station, where he was booked into the custody suite.
A strip search was authorised and began in a police cell, with Birch – who had taken the Taser from his holster and placed it behind his back – and two other officers attending.
“Mr Dove, then having taken his trousers off, takes his socks off and so it is that Mr Dove is in the cell with three officers, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers,”Mr Shellard said.
“Mr Dove kneels down to take his boxers off, therefore being compliant. As he does so, PC Birch moves forward to take the boxer shorts.
“As he does so, and as Mr Dove rises, Mr Dove flicks the boxer shorts at the police officers. They strike PC Birch to the side of the face. PC Birch produces the Taser and without any warning at all, he fires the Taser into the chest of the naked Mr Dove.”
The trial continues.