Man who brandished knife at police not guilty of assaulting officers

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. Google Maps

Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps

A man was found not guilty of assaulting two police officers despite kicking and punching them and later brandishing a knife towards them after they confused him with his brother and attempted to arrest him.

Magistrates at Great Yarmouth judged that the police officers involved in the incident did not have reasonable grounds to touch Luthfur Ahmed, 25, of Garden Close, Bungay, before they attempted to arrest him on Saturday, May 12.

PC Mark Graham, based at Lowestoft Police station, and PC Callum Walchester, of Acle Road and Firearms Police, had both suffered minor injuries, but magistrates determined that PC Graham should not have taken hold of Ahmed’s arm before stating he was under arrest.

The incident was further complicated, the court heard, by the fact the police officers were under the false belief Ahmed was in fact his younger brother Shaif Ahmed, 24, who police had a warrant for and who was disqualified from driving, but who was not involved in the incident.

The prosecution had argued the officers had a reasonable justification to take hold of Ahmed’s harm, with officers stating it was to “prevent his disappearance further”.

In their judgement, bench chairman Sylvia Bond said the magistrates believed the officer had the time to inform Ahmed he was going to be arrested and were not satisfied there was an immediate need to arrest him.

The actions of the two police officers were criticised by the defence counsel, with Matthew McNiff, representing Ahmed, calling PC Graham’s actions “frightening”.

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In his closing statement he said: “Both police officers seem to believe that they have this almighty power that they can take hold of someone without telling them why.

“The only reason he [Ahmed] did then lose common sense was because he was taken hold of.”

After being interrupted by PC Graham passing a note to the prosecution, Mr McNiff added: “Sometimes there are cases where you just get frightened and you just get angry and the attitude of that officer in this court gives you the best insight into his way of acting on the street.”

Ahmed is due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to one charge of threatening or abusive behaviour at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on October 31.