Police officer â€˜fired 50,000-volt Taser stun gun at suspect inside prison cellâ€™
A police officer has been charged with firing a 50,000-volt Taser stun gun at a suspect inside a prison cell.
Pc Lee Birch, 29, allegedly fired the weapon at Daniel Dove after booking him into a police custody unit.
The officer appeared before a magistrates court yesterday accused of assaulting Mr Dove.
Birch is also accused of misconduct in a public office. This charge relates to the way he handcuffed Mr Dove and strip-searched him in the cell.
Yesterday prosecutor Ann Ellery outlined the charges against Pc Birch at Swindon Magistrates Court.
â€˜The deployment of the Taser itself is covered by the assault,â€™ she said. â€˜Thereafter there is the removal of the barbs from the chest.â€™
She said the misconduct charge related to â€˜the twisting of the handcuffs while being booked in, the manner of the strip search and the putting to the knees in the cell.â€™
John Nutman, defending, said his client was in the â€˜strange positionâ€™ of being prosecuted before an investigation by the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, had concluded.
District Judge Simon Cooper said he had issued a summons against Birch â€˜on the strength of seeing video evidence from the police cellâ€™.
He told the court: â€˜Under the circumstances there is no alternative but to send Mr Birch to trial at Swindon Crown Court.â€™ The officer was granted unconditional bail and ordered to appear at Swindon Crown Court on August 16.
Wearing a grey suit, Birch was allowed to sit next to his solicitor, rather than in the dock.
He spoke only to confirm his name and age and his address.
A spokesman for the IPCC confirmed that the case had been referred to them by Wiltshire Police on Thursday.