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Police Ombudsman: Taser use on suicidal man lawful

Published 29/07/2015

Police in Belfast used a Taser to stop a man slitting his own throat with a razor blade
Police in Belfast used a Taser to stop a man slitting his own throat with a razor blade

The use of a Taser on a suicidal man was lawful and proportionate, a police watchdog has found.

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman also found the action was necessary to stop the man slitting his own throat with a razor blade.

Dr Michael Maguire said the officer had resolved a "volatile and potentially dangerous situation" in Belfast city centre in April last year.

Officers found the man outside the Grand Opera House but were instructed to wait for armed response officers.

They spoke with him for up to 15 minutes and warned that a Taser could be used, but the man refused to drop the blade.

At one point he shouted aggressively "You are liars and I'm going to show you all", the Ombudsman said.

A Taser was discharged as the man moved towards the nearby Europa Hotel with the blade still pressed against his neck. He was then restrained while paramedics provided treatment and took him to hospital.

The Ombudsman's office was informed within two minutes of the discharge and investigators were deployed to the scene.

CCTV footage was obtained and police documentation reviewed.

The man who had been Tasered was also interviewed and stated he had no complaint about police actions.

He accepted that he had a razor blade held to his neck and said police had acted in the best way to stop him killing himself.

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