Ex-PC tells court he used force in self-defence

Mikael Boukhari
Mikael Boukhari was allegedly punched by former Gwent police officer Gediminas Palubinskas [BBC]

A former police officer accused of assaulting a man he was arresting says he used force in "self-defence".

Gediminas Palubinskas, 34, who was serving as a police officer with Gwent Police at the time, is alleged to have assaulted Mikael Boukhari in Newport on 9 July 2021.

Mr Palubinskas denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm at the trial in Swansea Crown Court.

The court heard Mr Palubinskas struck Mr Boukhari four times with a baton to his legs, ribs and shoulders, and punched him on the side of his head.

Mr Palubinskas said he did so in "self-defence" after Mr Boukhari punched him in the head twice and bit his arm with "full force".

He said he pressed his emergency radio because he believed he was in "great danger".

Mr Boukhari previously admitted in court that he was driving while disqualified, which is why he was stopped by Mr Palubinskas the day before the alleged assault.

The court was told Mr Palubinskas arranged to meet Mr Boukhari the following day with another officer, so they could arrest him and take him to the station.

The jury heard Mr Boukhari refused to go to the station himself.

During that meeting, Mr Boukhari ran away, and that is when the defendant chased him into the garden of a property in Newport.

Mr Palubinskas told the jury when he entered the garden of the property and asked Mr Boukhari to show him his hands, he failed to do so.

That is when the PC used Pava spray, an incapacitant spray similar to pepper spray that is used by police.

Mr Palubinskas told the jury Mr Boukhari used his arms to block two attempts to spray him, and that is when he hit him for the first time with a baton to his legs.

He told the court this was done to "achieve a dead leg effect" so he could arrest Mr Boukhari.

The final act of force used by Mr Palubinskas was a punch to the side of Mr Boukhari’s head, which the defendant said he did with the aim of disorientating him so he could arrest him.

Asked by Sharonjit Bahia, defending, if there were any further strikes after the handcuffs were put on Mr Bakhouri, Mr Palubinskas said "nothing else."

Ieuan Rees, prosecuting, questioned the defendant’s intentions, saying Mr Bakhouri had "annoyed" him by running away.

He asked Mr Palubinskas if he had "just wanted to hurt him", which he denied, adding he was "not annoyed."

The court heard Mr Palubinskas did not switch on his body-worn camera at the time of the arrest.

Mr Palubinskas said he believed he had switched it on when he was running after Mr Boukhari, but instead pressed his radio button by mistake.

He told the jury the buttons "are very similar".

The trial continues.