CHEERS erupted in court today (Thursday) as TV star Huntley Thawe was found not guilty of two counts of assault on a police officer.
Mr Thawe, the handyman of Channel Four’s The Renovation Game, cried tears of joy at the verdict after three hours of deliberation at Redditch Magistrates Court.
The 48-year-old, who is from Bromsgrove but now lives in Elmley Close, Kidderminster, was found not guilty of two counts of assault on a police officer, resisting an officer and using threatening or abusive words or behaviour.
Classing the arrest as ‘unlawful’, Magistrate David Shadwell said the officers had no right to use force on Mr Thawe and that he was acting in self defence.
“We are satisfied that you made no threats or abusive langauge to anyone and your conduct was reasonable in the circumstances.”
Outside court, brother Patrick Thawe told The Standard: “It is the right result.
“He really is just a gentle giant, it’s just in his character to be loud.
“Never in my 47 years as a brother has he lost his temper.”
Mr Thawe’s trial, which stretched over three days, started on August 23 after he’d pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He had arranged to meet his estranged wife, Anna Thawe, at McDonald’s on Clews Road in Oakenshaw on April 15 to pick up his children, aged six and eight, when they got into a row about passports.
Mrs Thawe, who called the police, had told how her ex used his van to block her car in a parking bay after she refused to hand over their sons’ passports.
She said he became aggressive, repeatedly asking for the passports and began ‘circling the car and trying the door handles’.
“Huntley is a very loud person anyway, but when he gets angry, he’s like Godzilla – a monster,” she told the court.
“I felt threatened – that was why I phoned the police.”
Sarah Hurd, prosecuting, said Mr Thawe was in his van with his children when he was asked multiple times to move his car by police but the defendant was ‘not co-operative’,
PC Andrew Herlihy tried to arrest Mr Thawe. He said: “He was sitting in the car with both hands on the steering wheel. He started to talk over me and due to his demeanor I classed him as violent.”
“I had my hand on his hand and he kept pushing it away. I got into the vehicle to try to pull him out.
“I sprayed non-compliant spray (pepper spray) but it had no effect.
“He took hold of me by my body armour and shirt collar so I struck him to the face with my right hand.”
However audio and video footage seemed to show the defendant being dragged from the car by three officers and then being hit repeatedly with a baton.
Mr Thawe was pepper-sprayed twice more and when another officer arrived they struggled to get him to the ground.
“I drew my baton and struck the defendant on the arm as many times as it took him to release his grip on my body armour,” said PC Herlihy. “I was seriously concerned for my safety.”
Mr Thawe said the accusations of assault were ‘lies’ and at one stage stormed out of the courtroom.
Defending, Sarah Magill, said Thawe had been sitting in his van and hadn’t offered any violence.
“Hitting someone with a baton, using pepper spray and punching someone in the head is excessive force,” she added.