Football fan granted review of watchdog’s police assault probe

Tony Ramsden and daughter Chloe
Tony Ramsden and daughter Chloe
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A BUSINESSMAN who claims he was assaulted by two police officers outside Elland Road after a Leeds United game has been given a judicial review into an investigation of the case by an independent watchdog.

Father-of-two Tony Ramsden alleges he was hit with a baton across the back and later kicked by a mounted officer as he left the ground after Leeds’s match with Manchester United in September 2011.

The 46-year-old appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after two investigations by West Yorkshire Police ended with no disciplinary action taken against the officers involved. But the IPCC ruled against him, saying that after reviewing witness testimony and the available CCTV footage there was 
not enough evidence of an assault.

Mr Ramsden, from Wakefield, yesterday appeared at Leeds High Court to apply for a judicial review into the IPCC’s decision not to uphold his appeal.

He was granted permission for a “limited review” of the IPCC’s investigation after a judge questioned why no evidence had been taken from two witnesses who could have supported his claims.

Judge Shaun Spencer QC said he had “concerns” about a section of the IPCC report which said there was no need to take evidence from Mr Ramsden’s daughter Chloe and another teenager Tom Casey, the son of his friend Andrew.

He criticised the suggestion by the IPCC that it was not necessary to take evidence from the pair as they would not provide an independent account.

He said: “I do not think witnesses can be dismissed on the basis that any statements they could provide would probably support the complainant but would not be independent. How can someone judge the value of a statement without seeing it?

“It may be unconvincing in its tenor, it may have those details in fact and circumstance that lend verisimilitude to a narrative. We do not know, because the statements were not taken.”

Georgina Wolfe, representing the IPCC in court, said that even if the accounts had been taken from Miss Ramsden and Mr Casey their evidence would not “take us any further”.

She said colleagues of the police officers accused of assault backed up their story and that there was no CCTV evidence of an assault. She added: “The balance of probability fell on the side of the police rather than the claimant.”

The alleged assaults took place as Mr Ramsden and his companions were waiting for a lift home after the Carling Cup third round game, which Manchester United won 3-0.

Two police officers were injured and 24 people were arrested as trouble flared after the game. During the disorder, missiles were hurled at police and a male fan was assaulted and knocked unconscious.

In his evidence Mr Ramsden said he had uncovered CCTV footage which proved he had been assaulted but that had not been looked at by the IPCC.

The police watchdog denied this claim, insisting that all relevant footage had either been investigated or shown to the businessman.

Judge Spencer refused to give permission for him to take this complaint to judicial review, saying it was not an “appropriate” matter to consider.

He said: “Part of their reasons for not allowing Mr Ramsden’s appeal was that there was no CCTV footage which bore out what Mr Ramsden had to say. 
Mr Ramsden says there is other CCTV footage. He has not seen 
it, he cannot say it would depict 
the incidents of which he complains.

“He says the fact that it exists and he has not been provided it is something that indicates some awareness on the part of police officers that it would assist his case and damage theirs.

“We have a state of affairs where the report from the commission says the CCTV footage available has been seen and viewed but Mr Ramsden says ‘I believe there are more images’. That is not a matter that is appropriate for judicial review.”

West Yorkshire Police declined to comment on the case.