Police officer’s false statement charge over EDL rally incident dismissed
A POLICE officer who was accused of trying to pervert the course of justice by making false statements against a protester at the EDL rally in Bolton town centre has walked free from court after prosecutors offered no evidence against him.
PC Alan Glover, aged 31, was said to have provided false or misleading evidence which resulted in Unite Against Fascism campaigner Alan Clough being charged with public order offences.
Mr Clough, aged 64, a retired groundskeeper, was at the demonstration against the English Defence League in Victoria Square in March 2010 when Glover arrested him, York Crown Court heard.
The court heard that, since then, new “enhanced video footage” has surfaced which sheds more light on the physical positioning of the police and protesters during the demonstration than had been previously available.
Explaining to the court why the Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence against Glover in the case, prosecutor Paul Mitchell said it would be difficult to persuade a jury of charges against the officer because of what the video shows.
“At that point on the enhanced video it’s plain that Cantrell makes a sudden movement back with his head,” Mr Mitchell said.
“After his head moves back, Mr Clough’s hand is seen raised close to Mr Cantrell’s head.
“My own view is that Mr Clough’s hand is not in a fist, it is open, but it appears he’s making a shooing gesture with the back of his hand.
“Considering it from Glover’s viewpoint, it appears to the Crown that what Glover would have seen is that backwards movement of Cantrell’s head, followed by a flash of white against dark background, which is Mr Clough’s hand.”
Mr Mitchell said the Crown was required to prove two charges against Glover – that he made a false statement and tried to pervert the course of justice – but was not confident it would be able to do so because of the questions the footage might raise in the minds of jurors.
Glover, who appeared in court wearing a grey suit and white shirt, was formally arraigned and pleaded not guilty to both charges before Recorder of York Judge Stephen Ashurst found him not guilty and discharged the case.
Mr Cantrell, aged 39, was also originally charged with intending to pervert the course of justice by giving false or misleading statements.
However, the charge was quashed after Judge Shaun Spencer ruled that the evidence did not support it.
Mr Mitchell said the charge against Mr Clough was discontinued by the CPS after video footage recorded by Granada Television showed him in the front row of demonstrators with his hands by his side, being pushed from the side by demonstrators and being pushed from the front by protesters.
Jason Pitter, representing Glover, said the last three years had been very difficult for his client.
He said: “He has maintained and set out his innocence from the outset.”
An application was made for defence costs to be paid, which the court will consider.
Speaking after the case, Dr Rhetta Moran, of campaign group justice4bolton, was critical of the outcome.
“Justice has not been done and neither has it been seen to be done,” she said.
“We have to ask a question – why is a case abandoned 48 working hours before a crown trial is due to begin, on the basis of what is being described as ‘enhanced footage’ that no-one from the public has seen?
“That is very troubling.”
Ms Moran said there was an “obvious discrepancy” between what the Crown Prosecution Service said the footage showed and what the court heard Glover wrote down in his statement following the demonstration.
“The Crown Prosecution Service say they’ve seen enhanced footage that shows Cantrell facing Clough and Glover is three to four metres behind.
“But what Glover wrote down on March 21 was that he was stood eight metres to the left and therefore saw Clough hitting Cantrell.
“Both of those statements can’t be true.”
Ms Moran said the group would be taking action to ensure the enhanced footage was made available to the public.
From This Is Lancashire 17.06.13
Editorial. So a serving police officer has been arraigned for allegedly perverting the course of justice, and walks free from court? My, my. Whatever next?