Officers on trial charged with assaulting prisoner

Detention officer Michael Mount and Durham police officer Sgt Stephen Harvey
Detention officer Michael Mount and Durham police officer Sgt Stephen Harvey
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A POLICE sergeant and a custody officer are standing trial accused of assaulting a prisoner.

Sgt Stephen Harvey and detention officer Michael Mount face two counts of assault, when David Healer was taken into custody at Peterlee Police Station.

Harvey, 50, is accused of placing Mr Healer in an armlock while Mount, 61, held the 48-year-old’s arm across a desk using “unjustified force”.

Both officers are also said to have held Mr Healer’s arm across the desk of the booking-in counter at the station, while Harvey twisted it three times.

“The pain was incredible,” said Mr Healer giving evidence. “It was right through my spine.

“All I can say to this day, if I was asked to sign a confession for murder, I would have done it then just to stop them. It was unbelievable.”

CCTV footage was shown of an “unco-operative” Mr Healer, arrested for allegedly breaching his bail conditions.

He had been pepper-sprayed earlier, having resisted the two police constables who took him to the station from Seaham, kicking one in the knee.

Mr Healer claimed he had suffered an angina attack in the police van, and “panicked”.

CCTV footage, shown during the trial at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, showed Mr Healer refusing to answer questions or stand upright in the custody suite.

After officers brought him to the front desk, he failed to respond to Harvey’s questions, instead asking to see a doctor.

Mr Healer continued to be unco-operative and CCTV showed Harvey walk around the counter and restrain him by twisting his arm behind his back.

The prisoner screamed out in apparent agony and Mount held down his other arm from behind the desk.

Prosecutor Dan Cordey said “unjustified and unlawful force” was used on Mr Healer.

“While he may have been unco-operative, while he may well have assaulted an officer earlier, at this stage he has been passive and while he does not walk unsupported or do as he is told, there is no suggestion he was being aggressive.”

Harvey, of Chester-le-Street and Mount, of Thornley, deny the offences from March 5 last year.