Police ‘failings’ complaint man had started bar fight himself

Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire

A man who suffered a broken nose during a bar fight and complained that police failings had allowed his attacker to escape justice, had himself instigated the incident, a Police Ombudsman investigation has found.

Video evidence showed him throwing the first punch, which missed, before stumbling forward and falling onto a bar stool. A struggle ensued, before other people intervened and separated the men.

The man lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman’s Office after being turned down for criminal injuries compensation and learning that his alleged attacker was not to be prosecuted.

He alleged that police had not contacted him until nine months after he reported the incident, and believed a poor police investigation had led to the decision not to prosecute.

However, when a Police Ombudsman investigator reviewed police documentation, he discovered that police had recorded a statement from the man, had identified and spoken to a number of witnesses, as well as securing the CCTV footage of the incident.

Police records also showed that officers had been in touch with him on a number of occasions.

A file, including the CCTV evidence, was later sent to the Public Prosecution Service, which directed no prosecution.

No recommendations for disciplinary action against any police officers were made as a result of the Police Ombudsman investigation.