VIDEO: Tasered clubber has lost faith in justice
Updated 3:55pm Thursday 1st May 2014 in By Craig Jones, Reporter
DAN Dove, who was tasered while naked in custody by PC Lee Birch says he’s lost all faith in the justice system after the officer was acquitted of assault and misconduct.
PC Lee Birch, 30, discharged his weapon into the bare chest of Daniel Dove in a cell at Melksham police station in the early hours of December 23, 2012 after Mr Dove was arrested outside MooMoo nightclub, in Trowbridge, following an altercation with a clubber.
In the cell, PC Birch unholstered his Taser and concealed it behind his back, while two other officers began a strip search. Naked Mr Dove, 24, who lives in Timbrell Street, Trowbridge, flicked his boxer shorts at PC Birch after taking them off with the officer then tasering him.
After a five-day trial at Bristol Crown Court the jury found PC Birch not guilty on Tuesday.
Carpenter Mr Dove, who works in Wincanton, Somerset, said: “I’m angry with the verdict and I’ve lost my faith in the justice system.
“The jury saw the video, which shows I wasn’t particularly aggressive towards him. I just don’t see how they let him off as its surely an abuse of PC Birch’s power as a police officer.
“I flicked my pants at him as I was frustrated at having to be strip searched as I had nothing on me but his reaction is totally unnecessary.
“When I was tasered it felt like I’d touched a really strong electronic cattle fence, only much, much worse.
“I was on the ground in shock and none of the officers even helped me up. They left me there and the worst thing is PC Birch didn’t know if I had a heart condition which the taser could set off.”
Mr Dove admitted that he was annoyed at being arrested and was under the influence of alcohol in custody, but didn’t believe he did anything to warrant being tasered.
A strip search was authorised as Mr Dove had previously been found with cannabis in his jeans in 2009.
He said: “I was certainly unhappy about being there as I was just out for a good time. But I don’t regret anything that happened that night.
“I was having a nice time with my girlfriend, got into a small bit of pushing, the next thing I was grabbed by PC Birch and the rest is history.”
The jury heard that Mr Dove allegedly punched PC Birch in the head during his arrest, before kneeing another police officer in the groin three times.
He was charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting two police officers, though the case against him was later dropped.
Mr Dove said that following the incident he’s received support from his girlfriend Kelli Baker and grandparents Douglas Dove and Pat Vivash but no apology from Wiltshire Police.
Despite being found not guilty, PC Birch still faces an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the incident. The IPCC is considering whether PC Birch breached the standards of professional behaviour expected of police officers.
Mr Dove said: “I’m hopeful that he’ll be punished for what he did but I’m not too optimistic given that a court didn’t find him guilty. I’m just glad that the video is out there now so that the public can make their minds up.”
Wiltshire Police wished not to make the footage public while their independent investigation was still ongoing although the court agreed that media organisations could have access to it.
THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, yesterday said about PC Lee Birch being found not guilty at Bristol Crown Court yesterday.
He said: “I do not intend to comment on the outcome of this trial.
“Furthermore, the issue of when it is right to deploy a Taser is an operational matter for the Chief Constable.
“However, there is a public interest in the recent increase in the use of Taser and in whether national guidance and policies on Taser are being set out clearly to officers in training.
“I think the public may also have questions about whether it is appropriate to use Taser in the confined space of a custody cell.
“In my view it is the responsibility of PCCs, working with the College of Policing, to ensure that operational guidance is sufficiently robust and that adequate safeguards for the public are built in.
“I also hope that the Independent Police Complaints Commission will consult with PCCs as and when they review Taser use.
“I intend to discuss the implications of this case with the Chief Constable to determine what lessons have been learned.”
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