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G20 protest death: Met officer who struck man will not face charges

By Mark Hughes

The police officer captured on film striking Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests will not face criminal charges over his death because of conflicting opinions about the cause of death among the medical experts who conducted post-mortem examinations.

Dr Freddy Patel, who carried out the first post-mortem ruled he died of a heart attack. That was contradicted by two later autopsies, which both found that the 47-year-old died of internal bleeding caused by a blow to the abdomen.

Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service said that this contradictory medical evidence was the reason it could not bring a manslaughter charge against Pc Simon Harwood,who pushed Mr Tomlinson to the ground.

The CPS also said it could not bring a common assault charge against the officer because such a charge must be brought within six months, and it had taken 11 months to reach a decision. A charge of misconduct was also considered, but rejected.

The dead man's son Paul King accused the authorities of a cover-up and warned that his family would fight the decision.

He said: “It's outrageous. We feel like it was not a full investigation from the beginning. It's a big cover-up.”

Mr King added: “They knew that if they dragged this out long enough, they would avoid charges. They knew just what they were doing. They've pulled us through a hedge backwards — now we have to go on living our lives.”

Dr Patel, who is under investigation for professional misconduct unrelated to the case, has been suspended from working as a Home Office pathologist.

His misconduct hearing went before the General Medical Council (GMC) this week.

Yesterday the CPS said it was Dr Patel's findings in the first post-mortem on Mr Tomlinson that had halted proceedings.

Mr Tomlinson died in April 2009 during demonstrations in the City of London. He was not one of the protesters, however, and was walking home when he was pushed to the ground by Pc Harwood, a territorial support group officer trained to deal with public disorder. Video footage of Mr Tomlinson being pushed to the ground by the police officer provoked widespread anger.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated the death and passed its file to the CPS in August 2009.

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