Father ‘bitterly disappointed’ officers will not be prosecuted over son’s death
Five Sussex Police officers were investigated.
A father whose son died after being restrained and put into a police van has said feeling “bitterly disappointed” is an understatement after learning for a second time no officers will face prosecution.
Five Sussex Police officers were investigated after Duncan Tomlin, 32, was detained following a disturbance in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, in 2014. He was taken to hospital after he stopped breathing but died on July 29.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed on Wednesday none of the officers in question – a sergeant and four police constables – would be subject to criminal charges.
This is the second time prosecutors have reviewed the evidence and decided not to proceed.
In a statement released by the lawyers’ campaign group INQUEST which is supporting the family, his father Paul Tomlin said: “To say I am bitterly disappointed by the CPS’s decision is an understatement.
“Although, I am not surprised by it given how few prosecutions are brought against police officers.
“We, as a family, are now focusing on the forthcoming inquest. I hope that these proceedings, and any disciplinary proceedings, will help to provide answers and accountability in relation to Duncan’s death.”
There is not a realistic prospect of conviction Crown Prosecution Service
In April 2016, the Independent Police Complaints Commission sent a file to the CPS to consider a prosecution over Mr Tomlin’s death. In December that year the CPS said it would not bring criminal charges but the family appealed and the files were reviewed.
A CPS spokesman said: “The family and partner of Duncan Tomlin requested a review, under the Victims’ Right to Review scheme, of our decision not to bring charges against five officers from Sussex Police in relation to his death in 2014.
“The review was carried out by a senior specialist prosecutor not involved in the earlier decision.
“We have concluded that the original decision was correct and the evidential test, as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors, is not met, meaning there is not a realistic prospect of conviction.”
Mr Tomlin’s father previously called on Chief Constable Giles York officers. INQUEST said it is still waiting to hear whether the force will launch disciplinary proceedings.
Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST, said: “The routine lack of criminal action following police deaths is the source of great anger and pain for families who expect and demand a system capable of delivering justice and accountability.”