A Met Police officer who reportedly hit a Wetherspoons drinker with his stick over the head in an “unprovoked” attack, claims the display of violence was “perfectly proportional.” ‘
PC Jack Wood, 26, has denied the attack on Jake Smith, 26, who got a gaping cut in his skull after the collision on January 5 last year in Romford, Essex.
Pc Wood and colleague Pc Archie Payne, 26, are further charged with beating Mr. Smith’s 26-year-old boyfriend Scott Rooney, who claims he was grabbed by the throat and thrown to the floor.
PC Jack Wood, 26, (left) denies the attack on Jake Smith, 26, who was left with a gaping cut in his skull after the bust-up in Romford, Essex. He and colleague Pc Archie Payne, 26, (right) are also charged with assaulting Mr. Smith’s boyfriend, Scott Rooney, 26, who claims he was grabbed by the throat and thrown to the floor
The City of London Magistrates’ Court was shown camera footage of the alleged incident
PC Payne and PC Wood have denied all charges related to the January 2020 incident
PC Wood insisted he had no choice but to draw his baton and said he was aiming for Mr. Smith’s shoulder when he hit him on the head.
Mr. Rooney, a railroad engineer, claims he was the victim of an unprovoked attack after trying to take a picture of Pc Wood and his officer number.
CCTV footage shown to court was captured when a Met Police officer hits Mr. Smith on the head and a second grabs Mr. Rooney by the throat, pushes him against the wall and lies on top of him.
Mr. Smith sustained two injuries to his head, 1.5 cm and 1 cm long, as well as 6 cm bruises to his chest wall, the court heard.
While defending Pc Wood, Robert Morris argued that Mr. Smith and his friend were binge-drinking for ten hours and that “rugby” tackled other gamblers outside the pub.
He told District Judge Nina Tempia that there was “no case to answer” and claimed the officer had only acted as legally permitted to stop the incident.
Mr. Morris said, “By the time Pc Payne and Pc Wood ran to the group, Mr. Smith was on his feet and aggressively moving toward the group.
Not on his back, unable to defend himself.
Mr. Rooney, a railway engineer, claims he was the victim of an unprovoked attack after trying to take a picture of Pc Wood and his officer number
His actions were clearly intended to target a person who was some distance away.
Not satisfied with that, Mr. Smith throws himself on a woman who was not involved in either group who appears to have wandered the mellee and then is knocked to the floor.
“What is clear is that any reasonable person entering that situation would have reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Smith has committed crimes of assault and sexual assault.”
Mr. Morris said that Pc Wood did not get into trouble with the baton in hand, but that he took a deliberate approach and acted proportionally.
He said, ‘If he just sit back and do nothing, he would be criticized.
“In my opinion, Mr. Wood got into the fight properly, used force that he was allowed to use, and did not stop wrestling until the baton was used.
Scott Rooney is knocked to the ground by officers after an arrest in Romford, Essex
“It’s just not true that the first thing that happened was Mr. Wood hit Mr. Smith with a stick.”
Both officers were seated at the dock of the City of London Magistrates’ Court in a navy blue suit today while their trial, which had previously passed the two-day timeslot, resumed today.
Prosecutor Nicola Shannon has told the court that there has been an argument between Mr. Rooney and another client, which has prompted two guards to ask them to leave.
She said they were staying for another drink, but when they left, she realized that the man they had collided with was lurking outside with several others.
The group was located between the pub and the bus stop to which Mr. Rooney, who lived on site, had to go.
So the couple asked Pc Wood and Pc Payne, who were on patrol outside the pub, to escort them past the group to the bus stop, the court heard.
Ms. Shannon continued: ‘The agents refused to do this, told the group that it was not their responsibility to help if he was their friend and returned to their patrol duties.
“Mr. Rooney was attacked by the group … but shortly afterward, Pc Wood arrived, came behind Mr. Smith, raised his baton, and delivered between three and four blows.”
Jack Smith, 26, was hit with a stick over the head last year outside a pub in Romford
The prosecutor said, with Mr. Smith facing the prosecutor, “Pc Wood appears to be moving from right to left with the stick above his head in an upper arm motion bringing it down toward Mr. Smith.”
The footage shows Pc Payne making a “kicking motion” at Mr. Smith while he was lying on the floor.
“The plan was that Mr. Smith would take a cab home with the girls and Mr. Rooney, who lived on site, would take the bus.
“Between that group and the bus stop were those who came in earlier.”
While PC Payne and a colleague had their body-worn cameras triggered, “PC Wood didn’t activate his until later,” the prosecutor said.
After Mr. Smith was treated in an ambulance, the officers returned to arrest him for an assault, but the charges were later dropped, the court heard.
District Judge Tempia said she would not accept that “there was no case to answer” and ruled that she should hear evidence from the two officers.
After the alleged attack on his friend, Mr. Rooney asked to take a picture of Pc Wood’s shoulder number.
Mr. Rooney then lifted the lapel because the shoulder number was not visible, but Pc Payne told him not to touch Pc Wood, the court heard.
Body worn images showed the drinker moving backwards saying ‘that’s a bit exaggerated’, to which Pc Payne replied, ‘I’ll tell you something, we’re going to do it to you’.
Prosecutors allege that the railroad engineer was thrown to the ground by Pc Payne because he did not want his colleague to be challenged to hit Mr. Smith’s head with a stick.
PC Payne, who retired in November and now works as a train driver, claims that Mr. Rooney was ‘tense’ as if he wanted to hit his other hand after grabbing his hand in an attempt to handcuff him.
The ex-officer said, “Tensioning the arm is to generate force from the other arm.
“I thought I was going to be attacked.”
He said he intended to “take him to the wall and put him in handcuffs,” but he lost control after Mr. Rooney managed to wriggle out of his grip and put him in a headlock.
Nicholas Yeo, defending the ex-officer, asked, “We’ll see you hit the floor then, was that your intention at that stage?”
He replied, ‘No, that was not my intention. While I grab him to try to put the handcuff on, he walks away.
‘He then manages to let go of his arm and so he ends up around my neck.
“I remember him putting pressure on me and we both fell to the floor.”
He said Mr. Rooney behaved “aggressively” after the group’s arrest outside the pub and had a “reasonable premise” to arrest Mr. Rooney before turning Pc Wood’s lapel.
He added: ‘We had to try to spread the situation and separate the parties.
“I heard Rooney yell” who hit my buddy, I want your number. “
The ex-officer said Mr. Rooney yelled, swore, and “aggressively zipped his coat.”
He said, ‘It was clear he was drunk and wouldn’t listen to the reasoning I would do with him.
“At that point I thought we were fed up with him being drunk and disorderly on the street.”
Stationed at Romford Police Station, PC Wood denies one time assault involving actual bodily harm to Mr. Scott and one time assault by beating him.
PC Payne, also stationed at Romford Police Station, has denied one count of a common assault on Mr Rooney.
The process continues.