Taser officer is cleared

Colin Farmer
Colin Farmer

A police officer who tasered an innocent blind man from Chorley will not face charges.

Grandfather Colin Farmer, 63, was hit by a 50,000-volt Taser gun as he was walking on Peter Street, Chorley, last October.

Police had received reports that a man carrying a samurai sword was roaming the area.

The officer mistook Mr Farmer’s white walking stick for the weapon.

An investigation was carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, but following that probe, the Crown Prosecution Service has cleared the officer.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of CPS Special Crime Division, said: “On the basis of the evidence provided, including CCTV footage and police log record, I have determined that no charges should be brought against the officer.

“The circumstances are unusual because the officer was acting on the basis of erroneous reports from members of the public that the victim was carrying a samurai sword.

“Anyone accused of an

assault who may have acted under a mistaken belief as to the facts must be judged on the facts as they believed them to be.

“In addition, police officers are entitled to use reasonable force in order to effect an arrest and where the officer is under a mistaken belief as to the facts the question is whether, in the circumstances as he believed them to be, the force was reasonable.

He added: “While the officer was completely mistaken (and the victim wholly innocent of any suggestion of any offence) I do not consider the action taken by the officer in the circumstances as he mistakenly believed them to be were unreasonable and I have therefore concluded that no charges should be brought.”

Retried architect Mr Farmer, of Royle Road, Chorley, who is registered blind/partially sighted and has suffered two strokes in the past, said: “In a strange way I’m relieved, simply because these things can go on so long. At last I feel there is some progress being made. I’m bemused by it, but I just want this to move forward.

“Rules of engagement of these things need to be tightened up. I don’t want what’s happened to me to happen to anybody else.

“It has held up the civil claim because any criminal thing must take first stage.”

His solicitor, Sophie Khan, of McMillan Williams Solicitors, a solicitor-advocate specialising in taser-related injuries, said: “We will be discussing whether we are going to challenge the CPS decision.”