Police officer cleared of assault

First published in News

A POLICE officer has been cleared of assaulting two teenagers after catching them trespassing in Wenvoe Quarry.

PC Jonathan Johnson, 44, was alleged to have hit the boys, aged 13 and 17, at the quarry in separate incidents over two days in July last year.

The "outstanding and courageous" dog handler had been kept off front line duties for a year while an investigation was made into the claims of the two trespassing teens.

But he was cleared after a trial at Cardiff Magistrates' court after the judge heavily criticised the Crown Prosecution Service.

District Judge Bodfan Jenkins said the teenagers' statements were "shot full of discrepancies, inaccuracies and untruths".

The court heard PC Johnson, of Barry, was called to the quarry on two separate days after security guards found groups of teenagers swimming in a dangerous lagoon.

When asked to leave the private quarry they were verbally abused by the teenagers and South Wales Police officers were called to remove them.

On the first day a 13-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed PC Johnson punched him in the ribs and pushed him to the floor.

On the next day Lee Dixon, 17, claimed PC Johnson grabbed him by the throat and slapped him to the floor before repeatedly slapping him and telling him to leave.

The court heard Dixon had previous convictions for being drunk and disorderly and wounding.

PC Johnson, who has numerous police awards for bravery and excellence, denied both assault allegations.

He told the court he had given the boys a "stern telling off" for swearing at police officers and was forced to push Dixon back when he aggressively came up to his face.

The married father-of-two was acquitted of both assault charges and will return to frontline police duties with the dog handling unit.

Judge Jenkins said: "There was no assault on anyone and PC Johnson acted in self defence in the second incident.

"I don't find myself able to accept the evidence of the prosecution in relations to either of these matters.

"It is simply impossible for me to be sure that those assaults were committed."

He ordered the prosecution to pay all the court costs of the defence.

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