Police officer ‘fired CS gas in musician’s face for up to ten seconds’, court told

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A police officer may have fired CS gas into the faces of two Huthwaite musicians for up to ten seconds during a disturbance at a charity music concert, a court has heard.

The allegation emerged today (Thursday, 27th February) at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, following an altercation at a Giltbrook pub on Monday 27th May last year where Alan Wallace Allsop and Steven Harvey, members of the punk band Hung Like Hanratty, were both arrested.

Allsop (49) of George Street, Huthwaite, and Harvey (47) of North Street, Huthwaite, both deny charges of assault and obstructing a police officer following the altercation at the concert at which they were performing.

The court heard how PC James Bailey had been the first officer on the scene at the disturbance at the New White Bull pub, in Nottingham Road, Giltbrook, and fired CS gas into the faces of Allsop and Harvey for up to ten seconds from close range - an allegation he denies.

Giving evidence during the second day of their trial, fellow band member Christopher Charles contradicted police claims that Allsop was revving his engine and drove his green Rover vehicle at a member of the public involved in the altercation.

Mr Charles said Allsop had been sitting in his vehicle with the engine turned off, when he was pulled from the vehicle and assaulted by PC Bailey.

He said: “The car was turned off - I saw the police officer reach in and pull the keys straight out. The police officer then dragged Alan out of the car. Alan had been trying to get out of the car himself but the weight of the crowd pressing against it was stopping him.

“Alan’s daughter was screaming and wanting her father and I was just trying to get her away.

“When he used the pepper spray it was very lucky for me that the wind was blowing in the right direction or I would have got it as well, as would Alan’s daughter.

“It was sprayed for absolutely ages - eight, nine, ten seconds. There was an awful lot used - Alan and Steve both got a full face full.

“I overheard one police officer say ‘that was unnecessary’. Alan used no force or threat towards anybody.”

Moments after PC Bailey arrived on the scene, around nine other police vehicles carrying officers arrived, the court heard.

PC Bailey told the court he had observed Allsop revving his engine and driving it towards a member of the public.

He also said that he had used the CS spray for around a second on both Allsop and Harvey after they had attempted to overpower him and take his handcuffs.

Police guidelines state that CS gas should only be used in one second bursts and fired from at least a metre away. It should also only be used if the police officer is being assaulted or facing the threat of assault, the court was told.

Yesterday, the court also heard that PC Bailey, who is based at Eastwood Police Station, had forced a witness to destroy video footage which may have depicted him using the CS spray.

A special abuse of process hearing had been ordered ahead of the two-day trial, and defence lawyers told the court that a formal complaint had also been made to Nottinghamshire Police - claiming that officers had used excessive force, and failed in their duty of care by leaving Allsop’s young daughter unattended at the pub following his arrest.

The court was told that PC Bailey had ordered colleagues to confiscate a phone belonging to Daniel Wyatt when he spotted him filming the arrests.

Mr Wyatt (27) of Melbourne Road, Aspley, told the court that PC Bailey had told him that the phone was being confiscated because ‘he was not allowed to video the police’ and only agreed to return the phone later at the police station if Mr Wyatt agreed to delete the footage.

“PC Bailey told me that if I deleted the footage I would get my phone back and I needed the phone for work, so that’s what I did,” Mr Wyatt told the court.

“But later I became upset because people were getting charged - if there was nothing incriminating on the phone then why did they want me to delete it? PC Bailey was playing it to the other officer and between them they must have decided to delete the footage.

“I didn’t challenge this because all I wanted was my phone back. They made me play it but I wasn’t allowed to watch it.”

Mr Wyatt added that he had felt under pressure to give a certain account in his police statement, because the interview had also been conducted by PC Bailey, who had also driven him from the pub to the police station.

Giving evidence for the second time today, Mr Wyatt added: “He took the keys out of the ignition and violently dragged the driver out like a rag doll.

“That car was not moving and while he was taking my statement it was like he was trying to justify what he had done.”

PC Bailey denied deleting the video footage and said he had returned the phone to Mr Wyatt when its content did not show anything that could have been used as evidence against Allsop and Harvey.

The case was adjourned until 9.45am on Friday, 28th March.

PICTURED: Steven Harvey (left) and Alan Allsop outside Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.