Police officer says assault claim driver was danger to colleagues
A police constable accused of unlawfully attacking a driver following a high-speed chase has claimed the alleged victim remained a danger after he pulled over.
Pc Sunil Narr, of West Midlands Police, told Birmingham Crown Court he aimed a blow using the base of his baton at the shoulder of Joshua Ward.
Prosecutors allege Narr deliberately targeted the head of Mr Ward in the Hillfields area of Coventry in the early hours of August 1 2017, leaving him “caked” in blood.
Narr, aged 32, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm, claiming he was aiming at Mr Ward’s shoulder but accidentally struck him over the head.
Mr Ward, who was not insured to drive, is alleged to have been assaulted in Lower Ford Street and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Giving evidence earlier this week, Mr Ward said he could not remember driving away from police at more than 90mph but insisted he had tried to surrender to officers.
Addressing the court on Thursday, Narr told jurors he feared he could have been run over before Mr Ward was pulled from his vehicle.
The officer said: “I had no idea why he had come back into the city centre – with so many unknowns and such determination to evade us, I assessed the threat level at that time to be high.”
Telling jurors he saw a colleague tussling with Mr Ward at the driver’s window, Narr said: “For whatever reason this guy is still resisting, which formed my decision to strike the windscreen.
“The occupant of the vehicle is still sitting in what is essentially a two-tonne weapon. He could easily have put his foot down and run me over.
“My train of thought was we need to get him out of there for my safety and the safety of everyone around me.”
The accused officer said he had struck Mr Ward, who was squirming and wriggling around, across the legs after another officer appeared to lose control of him.
Denying that he had “seen red” as he struck Mr Ward, the officer said: “I am fully aware that the force I use against others has to be necessary, proportionate and justifiable.
“At no point did I believe a strike to the head was proportionate or necessary. I absolutely did not aim for his head.
“My honest belief was that I was successful and I had actually hit him on the shoulder, which was my target area.
“As soon as I hit him in that area his body language… his manner did change. He appeared to relax.”
Narr, from Oldbury, West Midlands, has pleaded not guilty to assault. The trial continues.