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Pc guilty of assaulting suspect

A police officer has been found guilty of punching a suspect in the face after he spat in the officer's mouth.

Pc Rohan Scarlett, 47, launched the assault on Andrew Uba as he put him in a police van at 3am on February 20.

Scarlett, of the Metropolitan Police, was transferring Uba from Islington police station to custody in Lewisham, east London.

The burly 6ft 1in officer struggled with walking reluctant Uba to the van and was helped by a colleague, he said. But as he put Uba inside the van, without warning, Uba spat at close distance in his face, Scarlett told Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

Scarlett, a former nightclub doorman and security guard, said he did not want to be assaulted again and hit Uba to "distract him" from spitting a second time.

Magistrates heard that Scarlett, who denied common assault, wiped his face of the spit, opened the van door then intentionally "launched" himself at Uba, punching him twice.

Delivering the guilty verdict, chair of the bench Sue Rose said: "We do not accept that the defendant honestly believed that he needed to use force to defend himself in these circumstances."

The officer is currently suspended from duties.

Sentencing was adjourned to the afternoon of September 20 and Scarlett was given continued unconditional bail.

His defence barrister, Tom Godfrey, said his client would be appealing the verdict.

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