A sergeant cleared of assaulting a burglary suspect and perverting justice now faces possible disciplinary proceedings by West Yorkshire Police.
A jury of 10 women and two men took around two hours to find Sgt Craig Nicholls not guilty after a trial at Leeds Crown Court yesterday. (Feb 27)
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 testicles 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: “Mr Nicholls is delighted with the verdict of the jury and it has confirmed what has already known – that he is innocent of the charges. He is now looking forward to putting this behind him and returning to serve members of the public in West Yorkshire.”
The jury heard Mr Nicholls had been called to the area in the early hours after a report that two men were out to commit burglary. Mr Nicholls detained Mr Thrush shortly before PCs Philip Brewer and Johnny Frank arrived at the scene to provide back-up.
It was claimed Mr Nicholls walked up to Mr Thrush and kneed him in the groin with unnecessary force.
The jury was told PCs Brewer and Frank were “extremely concerned” about the incident and later reported it. Mr Nicholls claimed during the trial that his fellow officers had deliberately “fabricated” evidence against him.