Policeman 'should be reinstated'

8:45am Friday 9th February 2007

By David Watkinson

A POLICEMAN jailed for attacking a man with his baton should be reinstated to the force if his name is cleared, a union has said.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file police officers, spoke after Appeal Court judges ruled that Jason Livesey, 34, who was based in Blackburn, did not have a fair trial and quashed his conviction.

But Livesey, of Walton-le-Dale, - who has already served his 18 month sentence - must now face a retrial.

Lord Justice Hughes, sitting in London with Judge Brian Barker QC and Mr Justice Irwin, said it was in the public interest to resolve whether Mr Livesey was innocent or not.

He had been found guilty at Preston Crown Court last March of perverting the course of justice, perjury and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

All three charges related to an incident in June 2003 when Livesey was alleged to have struck oil rig worker Lee Sayers, of Accrington, with his baton.

Steve Edwards, chairman of the Lancashire branch of the Police Federation, said: "Police officers are no different to members of the public and are entitled to a fair trial. If he faces a retrial and is cleared then we will be pressing for him to be reinstated to the constabulary."

At court Mr Sayers was said by the prosecution to have bumped into two women Livesey was talking to in Holme Street, Accrington. After an altercation, the police constable was accused of hitting Mr Sayers up to five times with his baton.

Livesey claimed that he used the baton because he was in fear of attack, but Mr Sayers said the officer over-reacted and he had tried to walk away from any trouble after apologising.

The perverting the course of justice conviction related to the arrest of Mr Sayers by Livesey following the incident.

The Blackburn-based PC was also found guilty of perjury after the prosecution claimed he had lied at Mr Sayers' subsequent trial for police assault and threatening behaviour, which resulted in the 23-year-old's acquittal.

Lord Justice Hughes said the jury at Livesey's trial had been misdirected by Judge Anthony Russell QC after a key witness inadvertently gave evidence he shouldn't have done.

All three convictions were therefore "unsafe", ruled the appeal judge.

Although he said he had "enormous sympathy" for Judge Russell because he had to act on the spur of the moment, Lord Justice Hughes said his directions to the jury should have been much fuller than they were.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said that each application to join the force was taken on its own merits.

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