Wiltshire Police has lost its appeal to stop Sergeant Mark Andrews returning to the force

Police chief speaks of disappointment after appeal over disgraced sergeant is lost

Mark Andrews, who has won his legal challenge to be reinstated by Wiltshire Police

Chief Constable Pat Geenty reads a statement to journalists on the steps of Wiltshire Police HQ

First published in News

WILTSHIRE Chief Constable Pat Geenty today told of his disappointment after the force was told it has been unsuccessful in seeking a judicial review in the case of Mark Andrews, the police officer sacked after a woman was injured as he dragged her to a cell at Melksham Police Station in 2008.

Sgt Mark Andrews was jailed in September 2010 for assaulting Pamela Somerville, 60, of Colerne, who was arrested on suspicion of drink driving.

His conviction was quashed after just six days of imprisonment but, after Wiltshire Police refused to allow him back to work, the Independent Police Appeals Tribunal ordered the force to reinstate Sgt Andrews. This led to the Wiltshire Force's appeal.

Mr Geenty, speaking from the steps of the Wiltshire police headquarters in Devizes today, said he was very disappointed with today’s decision.

“I do not believe it would be a reasonable proposition to seek a further legal appeal,” said Mr Geenty.

“We have to consider the cost of any further appeal and I don’t believe it would be successful.”

He said the appeal had already cost the force around £40,000.

Speaking after giving his statement, Mr Geenty said the decision to go ahead with the appeal was the correct one, despite criticism levelled in the judgement, and he revealed that Sgt Andrews will be entitled to back pay from the moment he was suspended.

He refused to be drawn on what job Sgt Andrews could do on his return to the force or speculate on what treatment he could expect from other officers.

Mr Geenty said: “I expect the highest standards and professional behaviour from all my officers and expect the same of Sgt Andrews.”

He said he hoped members of the public would treat Sgt Andrews with the same respect.

The Police Appeals Tribunal described Sgt Andrew’s actions as ‘intolerable, discreditable and a disgrace to Wiltshire police’.

In the judgment handed down today, Mr Justice Ouseley was critical of former Wiltshire Chief Constable Brian Moore, saying all the grounds raised for the application were 'unarguable'.

The judge said the decision by the appeal tribunal was 'obviously rational',and added: "I was also troubled by the hostile attitude he displayed towards Mr Andrews.

"His strenuously expressed views rather underplay the fact that no previous complaint against Mr Andrews had been upheld.

"I expect that the order for reinstatement made by the PAT and upheld by me will be implemented with full regard to its conclusions, and the failure of this unarguable challenge."

Ms Somerville was arrested after she was found asleep in her car near her home.

She was detained for failing to provide a sample for a breath test, but she denied any wrongdoing and the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Former soldier Mr Andrews, who is married with two children, claimed she was unpredictable and abusive, and that she had been holding on to the cell door frame before suddenly letting go.

He said: "It was like pulling a cork out of a bottle."

Ms Somerville needed stitches to a gash above her eye following the incident, but at the criminal appeal Mr Justice Bean said he felt satisfied Mr Andrews did not intend to throw Ms Somerville into the cell and the injuries she suffered 'were probably caused by her falling to the floor after letting go of the door frame'.

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