The news has been released that Mark Andrews was not guilty of assult against Pamela Somerville. He was initially jailed for 6 months but released after 6 days and placed on bail as he lodged an appeal.
Everywhere but Inspecter Gadget are stating that the police have become a law unto themselves, that justice has failed, that the police only look after themselves, that they don’t serve the public anymore, etc.
First some facts (as I understand them). Pamela Somerville was arrested for failing to give a breath test after having been found sleeping in her car early one morning. She was taken to the police cells but proved to be a very hard to handle case. She tried getting out of her cell and was placed back in the cell by Mark Andrews. A fellow officer, Rachel Webb, reported him for the way he handled Pamela whilst she was in the police cells. Sgt Mark Andrews was then arrested and the news broke when Pamela Somerville’s injuries were shown. He went before Peter Greenfield in a magistrates court, so no jury. Greenfield was not convinced by the story from two police witnesses and jailed Mark Andrews for 6 months. An appeal was lodged immediately and he was let out after 6 days. Ever since he was arrested he has been suspended from duty on full pay.
Now for one controversial viewpoint about the case.
I believe the courts. I accept that Mark Andrews has been found not guilty – so he is not guilty.
But I also believe that Mark Andrews did cause Pamela Somerville’s injuries. But how can he be the cause of the injuries but not guilty of the crime of assult. Simply because the crime requires intent, but in fact he was put into an awkward situation due to failings in the police station itself.
Normally when there is an awkward prisoner who is not being cooperative there are a lot of police to subdue the prisoner. They also follow procedures to minimise injuring the prisoner. Mark Andrews was basically on his own so he was forced to use excessive force to subdue Pamela Somerville who was being abusive and non-cooperative. He shouldn’t have thrown Pamela into the cell, he shouldn’t have dragged her along the floor to the cell. But he pretty much had no choice. The fact that other police officers were in the custody suite when Mark Andrew dragged Pamela to the cells and didn’t help is something that the police should be looking into.
But should he be punished by being thrown in jail for trying to cope in an impossible situation? Should he be punished by the police and lose his job due to failings in the police force itself?
I think Mark should be punished because he did cause serious injuries to Pamela. But I don’t think he should lose his job just for this case. There have been allegations of a previous occasion where Mark Andrews has had complaints against him, but that wasn’t proved.