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Last Updated: Friday, 24 February 2006, 13:03 GMT
Pc cleared of attack on protester
Pro-hunt protesters in Parliament Square
There were clashes at 2004's pro-hunt protest in Parliament Square
A policeman has been cleared of hitting a woman with a baton during a rowdy pro-hunt protest outside Parliament.

Pc Tim Grant said he had rapped Kate Lovelace's knuckles after she grabbed a colleague's shield, but had denied deliberately hitting her in the face.

He left court without comment, but was said to be very happy with the result.

Miss Lovelace, 29, from Wiltshire, who rides with the South Dorset hunt, was left with a bloody nose and cut lip after the huge protest turned violent.

Southwark Crown Court heard several people needed hospital treatment after the demonstration in September 2004, amid claims the police operation was "heavy handed".

'Right decision'

About 1,370 police officers were sent to keep order at the demonstration, which attracted up to 10,000 protesters.

The court heard the levels of violence were comparable to the miners' strike 22 years ago.

But Pc Grant said witnesses had mixed up two separate incidents in Parliament Square involving Miss Lovelace, a racehorse insurance agent.

He admitted being frightened by the scale and mood of the protest - but denied letting it get the better of him.

He was one of several police officers arrested following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

After the hearing Neil Hickey, from the Police Federation, said: "Tim is extremely pleased and happy with the result. It's the right decision."

Mr Hickey urged the IPCC to conclude its investigation speedily, so Pc Grant, who could still face disciplinary proceedings, could get on with his life.

Pro-hunt protesters storm Commons
15 Sep 04 |  Politics

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