UK & World News
Police Staff Fined Over Prisoner 'Torture'
Two members of Durham Constabulary staff who held and twisted the arms of a prisoner to make him answer their questions have been fined by magistrates.
CCTV footage taken in the custody suite of Peterlee police station last March shows David Healer screaming in pain during the assaults by Sergeant Stephen Harvey and civilian detention officer Michael Mount.
The pair, who have not been suspended but have been moved to other duties, were each found guilty of two counts of common assault in March.
Mr Healer, a 48-year-old DIY store manager, claims he was suffering an angina attack during his time in custody, and at one stage thought he was going to die.
Harvey, a veteran of 30 years in the police, was fined £400 for taking the lead in what magistrate Oliver Johnson referred to as: "A sustained and repeated attack on a vulnerable man in custody."
Mount, a former army staff sergeant, was fined £200 for his "subordinate" role.
Both men were ordered to pay £50 compensation to Mr Healer.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the mens' actions "could be described as a form of torture", and were "completely unacceptable".
Speaking outside court after the sentencing, father-of-six Mr Healer said he was happy with the outcome.
He said: "At the end of the day, it's the consequences of what they did in society that's going to affect them.
"It's a shame that two people have ruined their careers over this."
Stephen Gowland, Mr Healer's solicitor, said: "Mr Healer suffered a great injustice but today at least he can be content that justice has been done."
He added: "My client's life has been affected greatly by the treatment he received both mentally and physically and he now has to live with severe pain for the rest of his life, due to the serious spinal injuries incurred in this incident."
Harvey, 50, and Mount, 61, both refused to comment about the case when they left court.
Durham Police Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton read a statement from the force describing the behaviour of his two staff members as "below the standards expected by the force".
He added: "Without wishing to condone the actions of these particular members of staff, I must point out that custody can be a very challenging environment for our staff.
"They regularly have to deal with people who are drunk, or violent, or both.
"We process around 20,000 people a year and, in the vast majority of these cases, there are no issues."
Mr Healer said he will now pursue a civil claim for damages.
what do you think?
It's going to get to the stage that our policemen will take no restraining action against anyone who is arrested. It will be a case of let them go We've got to support these officers
they werent restraining him, they were actively bending his limbs with the intent of harm as a consiquence for non compliance. there's a big differance
nicola look again they have put hardly any pressure on the guy,the man is screaming like a baby and not cooperating with the police,the police should be given more powers not less,these fines are perfetic every criminal in this country are gonna try it on now,police are doing a hard job restrained people that have no idea what they have to put up with in there day to day business,keep up the good work and dont let these people drag you down
so what did mr healer do in the first place to be taken to the police station....!! He must of done something wrong to be there ...please tell us what he did so the public on this site can make a better judgement on this incident...!!
Never mind what he did or did not do this is supposed to be a 'caring society' that does not practice torture - what these two 'thugs' did was wrong by the so called moral code of this country. If they cannot or will not abide by these standards they should be relieved of the duty - the same for anybody who agrees with them! Bet the two muppets on here would be screaming 'blue murder' if it happened to them!!! the trouble is in this modern police state it could!! Take care gentlemen that you too are not judged and found wanting.......
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Our police are now using dum-dum rounds ( a practise outlawed by the world's military for over a century) sonic weapons against demonstrators and now torturing suspects. It is our dear leaders the politicians who are directing them, be very worried.
This is every day for the police, abuse of their authority is constant and because they are police they get away with it, there have been over 330 people that lost their lives whilst in police custody in this so called democracy whilst not a single police officer has been arrested or indeed suspended, we must have a fully accountable and genuinely transparent police service beginning with the IPCC being truly independant instead of the joke we have now, there is a culture within the police of "we uphold the law therefore we are above it", in order for this to continue good people must say and and do nothing, and if you think that this kind of torture or worse could`nt happen to you then you may need to think again, just take a look at the Ian Tomlinson case, it could happen to any of us, just put "can we trust the police" into youtube.