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Disabled man punched by police

PUBLISHED: 10:23 18 November 2008 | UPDATED: 21:49 05 July 2010

A disabled man has been convicted of swearing at police and resisting arrest, despite claiming that he was reacting to being punched and kicked by officers.

A disabled man has been convicted of swearing at police and resisting arrest, despite claiming that he was reacting to being punched and kicked by officers.

Matthew Howard, of Hall Road in Lowestoft, was arrested after being thrown out of the Notleys pub in the town on January 27.

Alan Wheetman, prosecuting, told Lowestoft magistrates court yesterday that Howard was abusive to security staff after being asked to leave the premises.

PC Kevin Durrant and PC Robert Simmons were then called to the pub, in the Royal Thoroughfare, and Howard - who suffers from Friedreich's Ataxia, which affects his coordination and walking - was arrested after swearing at them.

PC Durrant told the court that he punched Howard after he grabbed his arm, stopping him from putting handcuffs on him. He said:

“He was warned that if he didn't stop swearing he would have to spend a night in the cells, but he didn't stop.”

He said that Howard, 22, was arrested but struggled and fell to the floor, where he had to be restrained until he calmed down.

PC Durrant said he punched Howard once in the arm and twice in the face, causing his nose to bleed, and kicked him in the thigh.

The court was shown CCTV footage from outside the pub, which Mr Wheetman said showed Howard resisting arrest and the officers using the necessary force to restrain him.

Matthew Edwards, for Howard, said the police officers' action did not amount to reasonable force.

Howard, who denied committing a public order offence and two charges of resisting arrest, said he fell over in the pub while trying to climb the stairs to go to the toilet but could not remember what happened outside.

Howard was yesterday found guilty on all three charges. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge for the public order offence, and ordered to pay a total of £165 in fines and costs for the two charges of resisting arrest.

Chairman of the bench Trevor Lynes said: “We have video and live evidence which satisfies us that Mr Howard, having been arrested, tried to resist arrest. This was reinforced by the fact that he had to be taken to the ground by the officers.”

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