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Assault against officers case thrown out due to lack of barristers

Three Suffolk officers who were assaulted on duty have had their case thrown out.

A crown court judge has refused to adjourn a case of assaults against officers following a lack of available barristers.

The officers were assaulted while on duty, with the suspect in question having 161 previous convictions, among which are offences of assaults on officers.

However, due to a shortage of available barristers, the judge refused a request to adjourn it and directed that not guilty verdicts should be recorded.

Police Oracle understands that the case was due to be heard at Ipswich Crown Court and that it was its first listing.

The Federation has said that the suspect has “effectively been let off with no punishment for his actions.”

They added that the decision has led to an “enormous waste of resources” due to the time it took to prepare the case file as well as the force being left short in their numbers as all three officers, plus two more as witnesses, had been warned to come to court.

“The domino impact of this decision is plain to see,” the statement said.

“This is simply unacceptable.”

Darren Harris, chair of Suffolk Police Federation has also condemned the outcome of the case.

“In the past, the Federation has criticised courts for handing out seemingly lenient sentences when police officers have been assaulted and abused, saying that offenders had escaped with little more than a slap on the wrist,” he said.

“But, in this case it seems that this individual didn’t even get a slap on the wrist. It is beyond belief that they have been able to walk away completely scot-free for this despicable abuse of police officers just going about their duties.

“Not only does this mean that they have completely escaped justice, but it also sends out completely the wrong message to others. Where is the deterrent when someone can be accused of this type of offence and then simply see the case dropped?”

Mr Harris' views have been echoed by the three officers involved in the incident.

One said: “I am very disappointed and feel let down by the system. We are here to protect victims and when we are victims ourselves doing our duty the offender is allowed to walk away with no consequences.”

Another added: “I am disappointed with the decision and frustrated we get assaulted in the line of duty and the court doesn’t seem to care.”

The third officer said: “I am angry. What is the point of recording a crime of assault if it won’t go anywhere? All the work that goes into case feels like it’s not worth it.”

A CPS spokesperson said: “Assaults against emergency workers are taken very seriously by the CPS and we work closely alongside the police and other partner agencies to build strong cases to deliver justice.

“The scheduled barrister was unable to attend the trial and, despite the best efforts, a replacement barrister was unable to be found.

“A request for an adjournment was made by the CPS in order to continue the case on another date. However, this was denied by the court.

“We acknowledge that this will be a disappointing outcome for those involved.”

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