Pcc cleared of racism and fight charges

A POLICE officer has been cleared of racism allegations and provoking a violent confrontation with an Ipswich train passenger.Keith Barnes, 37, was alleged to have picked a fight with a black man while hurling racial taunts.

A POLICE officer has been cleared of racism allegations and provoking a violent confrontation with an Ipswich train passenger.

Keith Barnes, 37, was alleged to have picked a fight with a black man while hurling racial taunts.

But Barnes, who is stationed at Kings Cross Station, London, still faces a nervous wait over an allegation of common assault, by punching Jayce Bowes as he made his way home to Ipswich from the capital.

At Southwark Crown Court, fellow officer Andrew Darke, 34, who is also stationed at Kings Cross, was cleared of two charges relating to the incident on January 17 this year.

Barnes denied two charges of racially aggravated common assault on Mr Bowes, and two alternative charges of common assault on the same man.

He was acquitted of three charges but still faces the possibility of a retrial over the common assault charge.

Most Read

The case will be mentioned in court again on November 22, when Barnes will learn whether he must undergo another hearing.

Darke was cleared of provoking racially aggravated fear of violence involving Mr Bowes, and the racially aggravated harassment of Mrs Deidre Clarke.

Both defendants serve with the British Transport Police and are stationed at Kings Cross.

The off-duty police officers were alleged to have sparked the incident after a night out at a colleague's leaving party.

The pair were said to have started 'trouble' as they made their way home.

The Crown alleged that Barnes "deliberately started trouble" on a platform at the station after apparently taking a "racial dislike" to Mr Bowes.

Darke was accused of hurling abuse during the disturbance and racially harassing Mrs Clarke.

Mr Tayo Adebayo, prosecuting, alleged the incident started when Barnes deliberately "body checked" Mr Bowes.

As the stunned commuter complained he punched him in the face and unleashed a torrent of racial abuse, it was claimed.

When Mrs Clarke objected to Darke about his language, she claimed he retorted with another racist remark.

The barrister said much of the incident was captured on CCTV cameras at the station and witnessed by Railtrack security man Robert Phillips.

Mr Bowes and his girlfriend had spent the day in the capital and were returning to Suffolk to get the Ipswich train.

The incident was halted by the arrival of uniformed officers.

Later an official complaint was lodged against both policemen.

Barnes maintained he accidentally bumped into Mr Bowes and apologised only for the other man to become "agitated and abusive".

The officer said he walked off towards the train but Mr Bowes followed him and punched him twice. He maintained he threw a single punch in self-defence.

Barnes denied he was a racist.

Darke said he became aware of the incident and spoke to Mr Bowes who "deliberately" bumped into him. He said Mr Bowes was acting "strangely and violently". Darke denied uttering racial abuse.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter