Glasgow & West Scotland

PC Paul Fanning cleared of assaulting Jennifer Dickson

A police officer has been cleared of assaulting a woman who was abusive and violent towards him and a colleague.

Paul Fanning, 33, was accused of assaulting 59-year-old Jennifer Dickson at Stewart Street police office, Glasgow, on 7 October 2010.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how Dickson tried to bite the officer after being detained in the city's Trongate area.

Sheriff Alan Miller found the PC not guilty and said his actions "may have been clumsy" but were not assault.

The court heard how the woman was abusive and violent towards the Strathclyde Police officer and his colleague when they came across her in central Glasgow.

Ms Dickson attempted to bite him twice before being taken to the police station.

'Clumsy' response

She tried to bite him again at the police office, after which he pulled her from a bench onto the floor.

In evidence, PC Fanning claimed he had not lost his temper with the woman.

He admitted calling her an animal with the manners of a baboon, saying he had been "shocked" at her behaviour.

He also said he did not expect her to hit the ground so hard and that his intention was to ensure his own safety and prevent himself from being bitten.

Sheriff Alan Miller found the constable not guilty and told him: "Looking at the situation as a whole, I find that your actions may have been clumsy and perhaps even careless, but they were not done with the intent to assault.

"The clear inference I draw from the whole circumstances is that they were done to impose control in a high-risk situation that was potentially slipping out of control.

"The Crown rely on the force you used and the words you spoke before and after the pulling."

Sheriff Miller said Pc Fanning's words were "not professional but were spoken in a context of dealing with Ms Dickson's behaviour over a half-hour period".

He added: "Before pulling her from the bench you said don't bite me Jennifer or I will lose my temper. That was spoken in a controlled way.

"While your blood may well have been up and in fact I do not accept your evidence that you were not annoyed, it nevertheless appears to me that your anger was channelled into a somewhat clumsy communication."

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