Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 19:47 UK

Officers' convictions downgraded

Police officer in uniform (Library)
The officers had their conviction reduced to common assault

Two policemen whose reputations were ruined after being found guilty of assaulting a man at a Christmas party have had their convictions downgraded.

Stephen Tierney, 53, and Jonathan Tym, 50, of Marford, near Wrexham, were convicted for actual bodily harm in April 2005 and then sacked.

Their case was taken up by the Criminal Cases Review Commission as a potential miscarriage of justice.

The Court of Appeal downgraded their guilty verdicts to common assault.

The two officers' convictions followed an incident at their wives' work Christmas party at Mollington Banastre Hotel, in Chester, in December 2003.

Various accounts were given by the guests, including the victim, Michael Mayers, who said that he had been attacked by the two officers and caused injury.

Partial reprieve

At their trial at Chester Crown Court the prosecution had alleged that Sgt Tierney and Pc Tym were the aggressors.

It was alleged that, in the course of a struggle, the victim's tie had been pulled tight to the point that he lost consciousness and also suffered a facial injury.

On receiving guilty verdicts, the pair were handed community sentences and each ordered to pay court costs of £1,200 and £1,000 in compensation to their victim.

At a police disciplinary hearing in June 2005 Tierney and Tym, each with nearly 30 years' experience, were told to resign.

At the Court of Appeal the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, reduced the compensation bills to £250 for each man.

Investigators had noted that a question sent by the jury to the judge as they considered their verdicts suggested that, while they were certain an assault had taken place, they could not be sure that the stated injuries had occurred as a result.

Lord Judge said the prosecution did not contest the appeal, but that, since the jury had been certain of the assault, the lesser convictions would be substituted.



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