Police Failures Exposed by YouTube Clip

R v R and B [2012], Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court

Alex Chakmakjian and Jacob Bindman represented two co-defendants at trial over charges of assault on a police officer by R and obstruction of police by B. Following an act of fare evasion, R was apprehended by officers and roughly treated. When his cousin, B, arrived to assist both were arrested after a struggle outside London Bridge Station.

Following belated disclosure by the CPS, it was discovered that several members of the public had witnessed the incident. During a voir dire cross-examination of the officer in charge of the investigation it emerged that a formal complaint about police conduct had been lodged by an independent witness. In addition, another member of the public had uploaded a video of part of the incident on YouTube, revealing a number of officers attending. The footage demonstrated the attitude of the officers on scene, the confusion regarding reasons for arrest and failures to take statements from numerous witnesses potentially adverse to the prosecution case. 

By the time of trial, the independent witness had been traced and gave evidence for the Defence. Alex cast doubt over allegations that R had deliberately or recklessly caused injuries to an arresting officer, and Jacob demonstrated that the arrest of B was unlawful. Both R and B were acquitted of those charges.