Lowestoft policeman in court
A POLICE sergeant threatened to throw a handcuffed burglar into an icy lake because he refused to name an accomplice, a court has heard.Andrew Jervis, 41, of Suffolk police, also struck Ashley Whitwam on the head 'a number of times' using a baton after the suspect had been restrained by three constables, Norwich Crown Court was told on Tuesday.
A POLICE sergeant threatened to throw a handcuffed burglar into an icy lake because he refused to name an accomplice, a court has heard.
Andrew Jervis, 41, of Suffolk police, also struck Ashley Whitwam on the head 'a number of times' using a baton after the suspect had been restrained by three constables, Norwich Crown Court was told on Tuesday.
The officer, based in Lowestoft, Suffolk, then attempted to cover up the alleged incident, prosecutors claimed.
Jervis denies assaulting Mr Whitwam at a holiday resort in Lowestoft and perverting the course of justice.
Ian James, prosecuting, said police were called to Gunton Hall, in Lowestoft, in the early hours of March 24 last year.
Security staff raised the alarm after seeing Mr Whitwam and another man breaking into slot machines.
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Three PCs arrived and detained Mr Whitwam following a chase - but his accomplice escaped.
Mr Whitwam struggled initially but soon 'gave in and became compliant', said Mr James.
This would have been 'perfectly apparent' to Jervis when he arrived at the scene, he added.
'Whitwam was helpless and, effectively, in no position to use any weapon or put up any resistance,' said Mr James.
The court heard Jervis took an 'active part' in the arrest and tried to elicit information from Mr Whitwam.
'As Whitwam lay on the ground, face down and handcuffed, Sgt Jervis approached him,' said Mr James.
'He began to tap Whitwam on the head with his baton. This was comparatively gentle at first. As he did so, he was asking for information. He was striking Whitwam to try to get Whitwam to disclose the identity of the other burglar.'
After his initial tactic failed, Jervis tried another ploy, jurors were told.
'Sgt Jervis threatened Whitwam, while he was handcuffed, to throw him in the lake if he did not provide information,' said Mr James, who told jurors it had been snowing around the time of the alleged incident. 'He [Whitwam] felt this was a real possibility.'
Mr Whitwam then named his accomplice as 'Andy' but Sgt Jervis continued the interrogation, the court heard.
'He returned to hitting Whitwam over the head with his baton,' said Mr James. 'This time he did so harder than before. Whitwam was struck a number of times on the head with the baton. These strikes caused injuries.
'They weren't awful injuries but they were caused by a sergeant hitting him over the head with an extended baton. For good measure, on one occasion the sergeant struck him in the mouth, damaging his teeth.'
Mr James said Jervis's actions had been 'unjustifiable' and were against police policy.
After being taken to Lowestoft police station, Mr Whitwam, who was later convicted of the burglary, complained about his treatment at the hands of Jervis.
An independent inquiry was launched soon after and Jervis encouraged the three 'inexperienced' constables who attended the incident not to reveal his role in the arrest, it was claimed.
'By approaching the constables, Sgt Jervis was attempting to pervert the course of justice,' said Mr James.
The trial continues today.