London copper struck G20 protestor ‘in self-defence’
Sergeant charged with assault says he mistook her orange juice cartoon for a weapon
The London police sergeant who was caught on camera slapping a woman protestor across the face, and then striking her legs with his metal baton, told a court yesterday that he had mistaken the orange juice carton in her hand for a weapon. As a result, he lashed out in what he called "a pre-emptive strike".
Sgt Delroy Smellie is accused of common assault on 36-year-old Nicola Fisher. He denies the charge and his lawyer said he would argue that that he was only seeking to defend himself and his colleagues.
The irony, of course, is that Fisher and others were attending a vigil on April 2 to remember newsvendor Ian Tomlinson who had died the previous day in a G20 protest in the City of London after being attacked by another police officer, who belonged to the same Metropolitan Police unit - the Territorial Support Group (TSG) - as Smellie.
The 47-year-old sergeant sat impassively while a packed City of Westminster magistrates court watched a video of him hitting Fisher.
The footage showed Smellie striking her with the back of his hand in what the court was told was a legal "clearance-swipe". But as Fisher began shouting "you hit a fucking woman" and moving towards him again, he took out his baton and hit her twice on the legs.
Prosecuting, Nicholas Paul, said these blows showed Smellie had "lost his self control". Paul continued: "He went from level one to level five without considering the intervening steps," said Paul.
A witness, student Beth Wilson, told the court she saw Smellie "use his baton with force" even though "she didn't appear to be a physical threat to him."
The trial is expected to last another three days. ·
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