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Watchdog rejects man's claims of police assault

By Adrian Rutherford

Claims that PSNI officers assaulted a man suspected of drink-driving after finding him asleep in his car have been rejected by a watchdog.

The man denied he had been drinking, claiming to have parked his car after feeling tired before getting into the back seat and falling asleep.

He said he only became aware of police when they started trailing him into the front of the vehicle before dragging him out through a front door.

He accused an officer of deliberately standing on his foot, causing a suspected fracture, as well as injuring his hand. The incident happened in Co Londonderry last July.

After being taken into custody the man said he had been held for three days without justification. He added that police were wrong when they said he had failed to provide a sample of breath as he had tried to do so.

When a Police Ombudsman investigator looked at police records, she found that the man was recorded as being highly intoxicated when he was taken into custody.

Notes written by a doctor who examined him made no reference to any injuries or any allegations against police.

The man's account of having been trailed into the front of the car was challenged by the officers. They explained that as the car had four doors, there would have been no need for them to remove him in that way.

This was corroborated by the man's wife, who said her husband had been dragged out of a rear door by the feet.

Enquiries also showed that the man had been held for an extended period as he was on court bail, and police checks had indicated he was not living at his bail address.

He was held in custody until the next available court hearing.

The Police Ombudsman investigator closed the man's complaint as unsubstantiated.

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