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Ombudsman report into TASER incident ‘most disappointing and flawed’

24 July, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle and member of the Policing Board, Martina Anderson, has stated that the findings from the Ombudsman on the use of TASER are most disappointing and flawed and that Sinn Féin believe the Ombudsman carried out a weak investigation.

Speaking today Ms Anderson said:

“Declan Smith was tasered by the PSNI who claimed that he was holding his children hostage. However the judge in the case, following the dropping of all charges, stated that Declan could leave the court "without a stain on his character as far as these matters are concerned."

“On the day of the incident Declan came out the back door in his bare feet and pyjamas. The PSNI could have use any number of techniques that they are trained in to restrain him. Instead they chose to taser him. The question remains unanswered by today’s report from the Ombudsman as to why exactly tasering was opted for.

“The fact that so called specialists in the PSNI Tasered him and then no one knew how to remove the TASER barb from his chest , not even hospital staff, shows the lack of training and knowledge in all fields on this deadly weapon.

 “SF does not support the deployment of Taser and maintains that Taser is a dangerous, lethal weapon. The finding from the Ombudsman are most disappointing and we believe them to be flawed and that the Ombudsman carried out a weak investigation.

“Questions now remanin outstanding following these findings about the wholly inappropriate use of such weapons against members of the public given the circumstances exposed by this case.”

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