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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Met chiefs cleared of safety breaches
Sir John Stevens and Lord Condon
The officers denied the charges
Two of England's most senior police officers have been acquitted of a number of health and safety breaches.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens and his predecessor, Lord Condon, who retired in January 2000, had pleaded not guilty to charges under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work act.

Sir John Stevens was cleared of two of three charges brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Lord Condon was cleared of two of the four charges he faces.

The jury has not yet reached verdicts on the outstanding counts and has been told they can now bring in a majority verdict, if they cannot agree unanimously.

The trial followed the death of Pc Kulwant Sidhu and injuries to Pc Mark Berwick after they fell through the roofs of two separate buildings while chasing suspects.

'Buck stops'

The prosecution case alleged that Sir John Stevens and Lord Condon failed in their duty to protect officers.

They argued that only in very exceptional circumstances is going on a roof worth risking an officer's life.

Prosecuting, William Norris QC, told the court the men had been charged individually because "the buck stops with them".

But Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, said the HSE had attempted to turn the commissioners into criminals.

It raised the issue whether in the future the HSE would "direct and dictate to the police how they say they should do their job".

The judge Mr Justice Crane sent the jury home until Tuesday when it will continue its deliberations on the remaining charges.

Jury deliberates over Met safety
23 May 03  |  London
Met chief defends safety record
15 May 03  |  London

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