The lawyer for a PC accused of the murder of Dalian Atkinson claimed that the ex-footballer was not still on the ground when he was kicked twice in the head “as a last resort” after the officer ran out of options.
Defense QC Patrick Gibbs also argued that the duration of a 33-second deployment of the Taser by PC Benjamin Monk was the clearest evidence that it had been mistakenly delivered “in utter confusion and panic. “.
Prosecutors say Monk used illegal and unreasonable force out of anger, before the former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town Atkinson striker died in August 2016.
Monk, 43, has pleaded not guilty to other counts of murder and manslaughter, while his then girlfriend, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, denies having assaulted Atkinson with a baton near his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire.
Speaking to the 11-member jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Gibbs said evidence suggested Monk was scared rather than angry during a six-minute clash with the former Premier League star .
Mr Gibbs told the court: “There was something about the way he (Atkinson) presented himself on the street that required (a witness inside a house) to cover up against the ballistics and tell his wife to do the same. “
Claiming that Monk and Bettley-Smith had “never really recovered” from their first impression of Atkinson, Mr Gibbs added: “Events go from 0 to 60 in about a minute because that’s all it takes. It took for his psychotic state to manifest and for the Taser to shoot and Miss Bettley-Smith to press her emergency button. “
After an initial Taser shot had no effect on Atkinson, Mr Gibbs said, the ex-footballer smashed a glass door panel in his father’s house, leaving Monk with “all the reasons to fear the worst “.
Mr Gibbs told the jury: “He (Monk) was not wrong to worry about the occupier.
“From what we now know, this incident could have ended very differently if Mr Atkinson had returned to the house.”
During his observations, Mr Gibbs said of Monk: “He knew he was facing an aggressive, irrational, seemingly powerful person who seemed unresponsive to reason.
“He knew there weren’t four (Taser) rounds. What he didn’t know was that two (police) cars and four policemen were only about a minute away.
“Was Mr. Monk angry or scared at the time? He had certainly been scared enough moments before to run away.”
Mr Gibbs said it was very easy to dissect the six minutes in the sanitized environment of a courtroom, but “it’s quite different to see those six minutes come to you in real time without knowing what is happening. will happen next “.
Witness after witness, witnesses spoke of the initial attempts to pacify Atkinson, Mr Gibbs said, adding that Monk had used “his last resort of last resort” and only when he had no other options.
Mr. Gibbs asked, “What is the evidence that he was angry rather than scared?”
“There are no angry words directed at Mr Atkinson. After proper analysis, you may find it hard to escape the conclusion that the prosecution says he was angry because they are angry with him. have to.
“Because only by alleging anger can they avoid the otherwise sane conclusion that he acted as he did in the heat of the moment – perhaps brilliantly, can – to be not so brilliant – to protect himself, to protect his girlfriend on probation (police officer) and the occupant (of the house). “
Claiming that forensic evidence showed Atkinson was not still before being kicked, Mr Gibbs urged jurors to determine if the third half-minute of a Taser’s discharge was the result of a “convulsive grip” of the weapon.
Mr Gibbs added that the jury had now heard the background of the kicks, which left two laces imprints on Atkinson’s forehead.
The lawyer told the jury: “While it is always horrible to imagine these kicks, you understand better how, in panic, if they were, they could have been released as a last resort. in the heat of the moment. “
The trial continues.