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GBH on police officer, broken cheek bone - no prison

Non-custodial sentence - no prison
20 December, 2021

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Case study summary

Our client was accused of fracturing the cheekbone of an on-duty police officer in the aftermath of England's defeat in the Euro Championship final to Italy. After he admitted GBH on the officer, the Court was persuaded to not send him to prison.

Case study

Our client was a 22 year old young professional and football fan who had travelled down from the north of England to be in London for the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy. After the game he, and a number of his friends, had entered a tube station. A close friend of our client, after attempting to slide down the centre of the escalators, had fallen down multiple flights of stairs and landed unconscious on the floor. Police were swiftly on the scene and attempting to secure the area.

Our client, having observed his friend fall, was in a state of some distress. He genuinely believed his friend to be dead. In response to an officer attempting to remove him from the scene, our client struck the officer once to the face. This blow unfortunately resulted in the officer suffering a fractured cheekbone. The incident was captured in its entirety on body-worn footage and did show our client immediately apologise to the officer for his actions. The officer initially allowed our client to leave the scene, however, a national media campaign to identify him followed. The prosecution then sought at court to link his actions to being drunk and to categorise events as a football violence-related incident.

The client recognised that his was a case of damage limitation. An early guilty plea was entered at the Magistrates' Court to ensure he would obtain a maximum reduction in his sentence when sentenced at Inner London Crown Court.

We worked closely with our client to put together a substantial mitigation bundle for the sentencing Judge. This included character references from friends and family. Our client had also suffered a form of PTSD from witnessing the injuries to his friend and had sought therapy to address this. A report was obtained from the therapist to explain the progress which had been made. Unusually, and to demonstrate his genuine remorse, a detailed letter of apology was provided to the injured officer. Aside from the mitigation bundle, we also worked closely with our client to provide a chronology of events and to demonstrate that events were entirely unrelated to the football earlier in the evening.

The Judge was persuaded that our client's remorse was genuine and that events had been a terrible, momentary, lapse in control in stressful circumstances. Our client, who had expected an immediate prison sentence, was spared jail and sentenced to a suspended sentence.

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