Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 12:13 UK

Taser victim's charges dismissed

Taser stun gun
It was the first time the weapon was used in Northern Ireland

The first man in Northern Ireland to have had a Taser used on him has had all charges against him dismissed.

Declan Smith, 38, of Elaghmore Park in Londonderry, was told he left the city's magistrates court with "no stain on his character".

The charges, of making threats to kill, were dropped after the prosecution said the alleged injured party had made a statement of withdrawal.

The Taser stun gun was used on Mr Smith during an incident in Derry last year.

The PSNI used the weapon after they received a report that he had locked himself inside a house with his two children.

A solicitor for the defence told the court his client had always maintained his innocence and had spent a period of time in custody for a breach of bail.

Questions

He said there was "never any basis to these charges", and he said Mr Smith, when charged, said he would rather have killed himself than hurt his children.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the case raises "very serious questions for the PSNI."

"I wrote to the Police Ombudsman shortly after this event because after discussing the events with Declan I considered that the circumstances raised very serious issues," he added.

"I contacted the ombudsman again in September raising further concerns with him about apparent misinformation on the part of the Police in respect of both the incident and his medical history.

"Around that time, I was criticised by other politicians and parties who accepted the PSNI version of events as fact. I expect that they will now reconsider the reliability of those comments."

Taser guns fire two wires which attach to the body and carry an electric shock.

The police were given permission to buy 12 Taser guns in 2008, despite opposition from human rights groups and some members of the policing board.



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