Police sergeant cleared of assaulting a Scarboro’ man

Colin Phipps leaving Hull Magistrates Court on Friday 14th March 2014.
Colin Phipps leaving Hull Magistrates Court on Friday 14th March 2014.

A police sergeant accused of deliberately driving his marked Ford Focus into the legs of a Scarborough nightclub drinker and then punching him in the face has been cleared by a judge of assault.

Prosecutors claimed when Sgt Colin Phipps, 48, saw Luke Seavers, 27, standing in the street he decided to arrest him because he was a known troublemaker, and when he couldn’t, punched him because he was annoyed.

Mr Seavers was put in leg restraints, handcuffed and was hooded by police officers in a struggle outside Vivaz Nightclub in Huntriss Row, Scarborough, at 2.20am on August 18.

Hull Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Seavers claimed he was told he would be charged with assault and threats to kill against the police for the incident, but within 24 hours that had vanished.

Instead, Sgt Phipps came under scrutiny as officers watched a CCTV recording and he was charged with assault by beating for allegedly driving into Mr Seavers and then punching him.

Sgt Phipps protested his innocence, saying he stopped six inches short of Mr Seavers and the punch was a 
“diversionary” tactic.

He initially told police he had been thrown on the floor by Seavers and his brother – injuring his back – which he later admitted was probably not their fault.

Sgt Phipps stood a one-day trial after pleading not guilty to a charge of assault by beating.

Finding Sgt Phipps not guilty of assault, District Judge Fred Rutherford said Mr Seavers admitted on oath he was aggressive to the officer.

“I find there was no collision with the car,” said Mr Rutherford. “The defendant (Sgt Phipps) did nothing wrong. He did the right thing in the situation. The officer reacted properly in the terrible situation he found himself in.”

Sgt Phipps, who was suspended from the police pending the result of the hearing, was awarded his costs and walked free from court to his waiting family who stood by him.

Mr Seavers said after the hearing: “I can’t believe it. Apparently I was not hit by a police car. I don’t know why I bothered coming to court.”