Jury clears police officer of assault

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A sergeant cleared of assaulting a burglary suspect and perverting the course of justice now faces possible disciplinary proceedings by West Yorkshire Police.

A jury of 10 women and two men took two hours to find Sgt Craig Nicholls not guilty after a trial at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

Mr Nicholls wept with relief as he walked from the dock. After the hearing a West Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed he now faces potential disciplinary proceedings.

The prosecution alleged Mr Nicholls “unlawfully and gratuitously” assaulted suspect Christopher Thrush by kneeing him in the groin during an incident in Hudson Road, Harehills, on November 30, 2011. It was also claimed he contacted a young constable in a bid to “back up” his version of events.

After the hearing, Mr Nicholls’s solicitor, Ian Townend, said his client was “now looking forward to putting this behind him and returning to serve members of the public in West Yorkshire”.