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UPHD boss to sue Met as megaphone 'assault' trial collapses
http://www.taxi-driver.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=35306
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Author:  StuartW [ Mon Jan 13, 2020 8:46 pm ]
Post subject:  UPHD boss to sue Met as megaphone 'assault' trial collapses

Bizarre :?


Taxi union boss accused of megaphone police noise 'assault'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-51094579

Image
Image: PA Media/BBC

A taxi union chairman accused of injuring police officers with the sound of a megaphone has appeared in court.

James Farrar denies two counts of assault by beating by using a megaphone near two police officers in a protest against London congestion charges.

The 51-year-old is accused of assaulting Sgt James Lewis and PC Ann Spinks, in Parliament Square last year.

Mr Farrar, of Bordon, Hampshire, is expected to argue sound waves do not count as physical force.

He is chairman of the United Private Hire Drivers' branch of the IWGB union.

Prosecutor Terence Woods told Southwark Crown Court: "The defendant, it is alleged, used a loudhailer or megaphone in close proximity to police officers.

"There are two complainants who say their hearing was affected.

"He accepts using the megaphone and I think accepts that everything was in very close proximity given the nature of what was taking place, namely a demo by private hire drivers against the congestion charge."

The IWGB union, which mostly represents precarious workers in the gig economy, has been fundraising to cover Mr Farrar's legal costs.

The trial will begin later.

Author:  Sussex [ Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UPHD boss accused of police 'assault' by megaphone noise

Strange indeed.

Do the police get a similar charge when they drive past with their sirens blasting out?

Author:  edders23 [ Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: UPHD boss accused of police 'assault' by megaphone noise

nah they're allowed to deafen us but low behold we should deafen them and I wonder if this isn't made up as I've never heard of people suffering hearing loss due to a loud hailer they aren't THAT LOUD :shock:

Author:  StuartW [ Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UPHD boss accused of police 'assault' by megaphone noise

Union chief to sue police over megaphone assault trial

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... -collapses

Ex-Uber driver James Farrar to claim malicious prosecution after case collapses due to lack of evidence

A gig economy union leader is to sue the police after he was wrongly prosecuted for alleged assault at a demonstration by using a megaphone close to police officers’ ears.

James Farrar, a former Uber driver who leads the private hire branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), will claim malicious prosecution after his trial at Southwark crown court collapsed on Thursday because of a lack of evidence.

Judge Philip Bartle QC instructed the jury to acquit after two days of evidence and said it was “very unfortunate indeed that this case arose”. Farrar described the prosecution as “a corrupt and crude attempt by the Metropolitan police and Transport for London to break our union and further disenfranchise precarious workers”.

Farrar’s solicitor said he could also sue the Crown Prosecution Service in the same civil suit.

Farrar said the prosecution was only triggered when he chased up a complaint about police treatment of the minicab drivers at the 4 March protest which he believed was discriminatory because police were responding differently to a simultaneous black taxi protest. He asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct to escalate his complaint on 23 July 2019 and he was charged with assault 48 hours later.

Two police officers complained their hearing was hurt by Farrar’s loud megaphone when he was leading the protest against the mayor of London’s decision to levy the congestion charge on minicabs but not black taxis. The union alleges it amounts to racial discrimination because minicab drivers in London are mostly from ethnic minorities while taxi drivers are mostly white.

“We think the prosecution was a result of James’s complaints,” said Raj Chada, his solicitor at Hodge Jones Allen.

“The police were covering their own backs and using it as a smokescreen.”

Bartle instructed the jury there was no evidence of “beating” and that using a loudhailer was not sufficient to amount to an offence of the unlawful application of force. Even if an application for costs is successful, the three-day trial will still have cost Farrar and his union around £20,000.

Farrar said: “I now call on the mayor of London to conduct an urgent investigation into this case and ensure those responsible are held to account. I have now instructed my lawyers to pursue this matter.”

The alleged assault occurred when police tried to clear protesters away from flatbed trucks the Met had brought in to help remove parked cars.

Farrar had wanted his members to be able to drive on to the square and complained to police that they were being treated differently to the protesting black-cab drivers.

The prosecution told the jury that the loud noise from Farrar’s megaphone exacerbated an ear infection in one of the officers, Sgt James Lewis. PC Ann Spinks, who was diagnosed with a hearing problem several decades ago and wore hearing aids, claimed she was left with her ear ringing “like a fire alarm going off”.

“The initial ringing in my ear was still happening towards the end of that day and it wasn’t as bad as it had initially been, probably about two or three days after,” she said.

Ikah Peart QC, for Farrar, put it to her that the noisy demonstration was like “a loud rock concert” and “you can’t attribute the ringing in your ear simply because you’ve chosen to stand in front of Mr Farrar’s megaphone”.

“Not specifically, no,” Spinks replied.

Bartle told the jury: “The facts did not justify the offence in either case of assault by beating, because that offence requires unlawful application of force and I accepted the defence argument that on the facts of this case the use of a loudhailer was not, considering the law, sufficient to amount to an offence of the unlawful application of force.”

The IWGB said it was “deeply concerned that police allegations came after the union had lodged official complaints with the Metropolitan police road and transport command over police behaviour at the demonstration”.

“Farrar complained about police violence against protesters and terrorist profiling of union members. He was released under investigation for four and a half months and a charging decision was made within 48 hours of him escalating his earlier complaint about police behaviour after police inaction.”

A CPS spokesperson said: “This case was carefully reviewed and a decision made that our legal test was met. The function of the Crown Prosecution Service is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for a jury to consider. We respect the decision of the court.”

The Met has been contacted for comment.

Author:  StuartW [ Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: UPHD boss accused of police 'assault' by megaphone noise

Quote:
The prosecution told the jury that the loud noise from Farrar’s megaphone exacerbated an ear infection in one of the officers, Sgt James Lewis. PC Ann Spinks, who was diagnosed with a hearing problem several decades ago and wore hearing aids, claimed she was left with her ear ringing “like a fire alarm going off”.

Oh, so one of the officer already had an ear infection, and the other has been wearing hearing aids for several decades :shock:

Funny that wasn't mentioned in the earlier BBC report [-(

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