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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Hunt demo Pc claims self-defence
Countryside Alliance protest banner in Parliament Square, central London
Up to 20,000 people took part in the demo
A policeman accused of attacking a demonstrator with a baton during a pro-hunt rally acted in self-defence, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

Pc Barry Jenkins, 36, is accused of hitting Simon Harrap over the head when police lines clashed with protesters in Parliament Square in September 2004.

Mr Harrap, 58, a farmer from Farnham in Surrey, was among up to 20,000 people protesting against the ban on hunting.

Pc Jenkins denies one count of causing actual bodily harm.

He said that fearing for his safety, he had "performed a defensive strike".

I knew I had been struck and I believed I was in a position of danger
Pc Barry Jenkins

The court heard that at about 1530 BST trouble started as police tried to control the crowd and Mr Harrap was allegedly struck by Mr Jenkins.

Pc Jenkins told officers investigating the case that he became involved in a "violent struggle" during the protest.

In a statement made to investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) he said: "I believed I was in a position of danger."

Head wound

Giving evidence in court Pc Jenkins said there were missiles "flying over my head" and that he felt uneasy at the scene.

Pc Jenkins said he hit out in an attempt to free himself after being held down "by two or maybe three people" and being "bent down from the waist".

He said: "I struck out, but I don't believe I hit him. I didn't feel anything. Normally you would feel if you had hit something."

Earlier the court watched CCTV and video footage showing batons and weapons coming down close to Mr Harrap's head.

Jurors were told that Mr Harrap suffered a wound, up to 3in long, to his head but he was not sure when he received it.

The case continues.

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