Police accused of destroying video evidence

Crime:Latest news.
Crime:Latest news.

A decorated Nottinghamshire police officer forced a witness to destroy video footage which may have depicted him using CS spray on two Huthwaite musicians, a court has heard.

The allegation emerged today (Wednesday 26th February) at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, following an altercation at a Giltbrook pub on Monday 27th May last year where Alan Wallace Allsop and Steven Harvey, members of the punk band Hung Like Hanratty, were both arrested.

Allsop (49) of George Street, Huthwaite, and Harvey (47) of North Street, Huthwaite, both deny charges of assault and obstructing a police officer following the altercation at a charity concert at which they were performing.

Defence lawyers representing the pair told the court that police who attended the incident at the New White Bull, in Nottingham Road, used excessive force and then destroyed video evidence showing that a police officer had used CS spray unnecessarily and for too long.

A special abuse of process hearing had been ordered ahead of the two-day trial, and defence lawyers told the court that a formal complaint had also been made to Nottinghamshire Police - claiming that officers had used excessive force, and failed in their duty of care by leaving Allsop’s young daughter unattended at the pub following his arrest.

The court was told that PC James Bailey, based at Eastwood Police Station, had ordered colleagues to confiscate a phone belonging to Daniel Wyatt when he spotted him filming the arrests.

Mr Wyatt (27) of Melbourne Road, Aspley, told the court that PC Bailey had told him that the phone was being confiscated because ‘he was not allowed to video the police’ and only agreed to return the phone later at the police station if Mr Wyatt agreed to delete the footage.

“PC Bailey told me that if I deleted the footage I would get my phone back and I needed the phone for work, so that’s what I did,” Mr Wyatt told the court.

“But later I became upset because people were getting charged - if there was nothing incriminating on the phone then why did they want me to delete it? PC Bailey was playing it to the other officer and between them they must have decided to delete the footage.

“I didn’t challenge this because all I wanted was my phone back. They made me play it but I wasn’t allowed to watch it.”

Mr Wyatt added that he had felt under pressure to give a certain account in his police statement, because the interview had also been conducted by PC Bailey, who had also driven him from the pub to the police station.

“I couldn’t say to him ‘you are a bit of a weakling and that’s why you used the CS gas’. I was just saying yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir, because I wanted my phone back,” he added.

PC Bailey, who has received two previous commendations by Nottinghamshire Police, told the court that he had viewed the video with Mr Wyatt, but it did not show anything significant and did not contain footage of either the use of CS gas by police of the earlier altercation.

“I did not tell Mr Wyatt to delete the footage and to the best of my knowledge neither did any other officer,” PC Bailey told the court.

He added that he used the CS gas on both men for around one second, in line with police guidelines.

But Paul Wright, for Allsop, said: “You have played the phone, you have operated it and you have deleted the footage. You have said to Mr Wyatt, if you want your phone back you are going to have to delete it.

“You have failed in your duty as a police officer and you have decided of your own volition to delete this footage.”

But District Judge Leo Pyle overruled defence attempts to get the hearing abandoned, and ruled that Allsop and Harvey could still get a fair trial.

He said: “The defence has not established that the absence of the footage would not prevent the defendants from getting a fair trial.”

The case continues.