London

Met PC cleared of beating 'yellow vest' protester during clashes

A scene from the march Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Clashes broke out at a pro-Brexit "yellow vest" protest march in central London

A Metropolitan Police officer has been found not guilty of beating a protester at a pro-Brexit "yellow vest" march.

PC Connor Pennery, 27, was accused of assaulting Terrence Dwyer, 53, on Jermyn Street in central London while arresting him on 16 February.

Mr Dwyer had just punched PC Pennery "with a tremendous force", Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

Clearing PC Pennery, Judge Tan Ikram said Mr Dwyer "threw punches at police officers".

The judge said he thought "events were not quite as Mr Dwyer described".

Mr Dwyer, from Barnet, had alleged PC Pennery had "punched (him) in the face three times ... then stood up and dropped on my face with his knee" as he was being restrained and arrested by the police officer and two colleagues.

But the court heard Mr Dwyer was being arrested after having twice punched PC Pennery.

'Rugby scrum'

Two other police officers at the scene, PC Andrew Hutson and PC Victor Choi, told the court they were also hit by Mr Dwyer.

PC Pennery told the court: "I felt a tremendous force to my mouth, in my view, with the intention of knocking me unconscious."

Describing his mouth full of blood, he said he thought his two front teeth had been knocked out.

Bodycam footage showed blood dripping from his mouth on to Mr Dwyer's head during the arrest.

Mr Dwyer said he was acting in self defence, under threat from a "rugby scrum" of officers.

PC Pennery admitted throwing a series of "jabs" at Mr Dwyer but said these were to restrain him.

In bodycam footage, he could also be heard swearing in reference to Mr Dwyer.

But he said: "I'm a human being. I was upset."

Letting PC Pennery leave the dock, the judge said: "I bear in mind... the realities of the response required there and then."

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