PC Lucy Clark, 30, (pictured today) is accused of perverting the course of justice but denies making up an allegation that her arm was grabbed and yanked by singer Shniece McMenamin
A police officer has denied being motivated by racism and inventing an allegation of assault against a mixed race musician while arresting her outside a nightclub, a court heard today.
PC Lucy Clark, 30, is accused of perverting the course of justice but denies making up an allegation that her arm was grabbed and yanked by singer Shniece McMenamin during an arrest in Plymouth.
The jury was told the serving officer Devon and Cornwall officer arrived at the scene of an argument in the street between police and a group of people, including Ms McMenamin.
One man was on the floor having been arrested and the alleged victim was said to be acting as a ‘peacemaker’.
But within moments of arriving Clark arrested Ms McMenamin for assaulting her.
The prosecution allege that Clark maintained her story that she had been assaulted but CCTV played to a jury at Exeter Crown Court showed no assault had taken place, it is alleged.
Clark, of Plymouth, Devon, has taken to the witness stand during her trial at Exeter Crown Court to stand by her version of events and deny claims that she lied or motivated by racism.
She told the court she had ‘nothing to gain and everything to lose’ by her actions.
‘I’ve got nothing to prove,’ said Clark. ‘I’m not lying, I’m not a corrupt officer.’
Clark is standing trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of perverting the course of justice. She denies the allegation.
It relates to an incident on May 9, 2016.
Clark told the jury that it had been her dream to be a police officer since she was a child and she had worked as a volunteer special constable after leaving university where she studied criminal justice, before joining Devon and Cornwall Police as a PCSO in 2013.
Clark is standing trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of perverting the course of justice. She denies the allegation
Defence counsel Mr James Hodivala asked Clark: ‘The suggestion is you are not tolerant of others. That you are a rascist.’
‘No, I’m not a racist at all. I treat everyone the same regardless of race, background and religion.’ said the defendant.
The incident in Union Street happened on May 9 2016 at about 4.30am.
Clark described being on duty and receiving a call for urgent assistance from a colleague.
She knew CCTV covered Union Street because it was a ‘hotspot’ for crime at the weekend. When she arrived she said she could feel there was ‘tension’ in the air and lots of shouting and pointing.
‘As I came out of the car my recollection is that Sniece came towards me waving her arms then grabbed my right arm and I say yanked my shoulder with the force of the pull,’ said Clark.
She said the whole incident happened in a fraction of a second and that Ms McMenamin was being aggressive and ‘volatile’ at the time.
‘Is this something you’re fabricating?’ asked Mr Hodivala.
‘Not at all,’ said the defendant.
She said Ms McMenamin had grabbed the lower part of her arm. Clark arrested her and, with the help of colleagues, handcuffed her.
‘She’s grabbed my arm and I’ve made the decision she’s coming in,’ said Clark.
The jury was then played CCTV of the incident. The prosecution say it shows no assault takes place.
But Clark said she could identify the moment of the assault. She claimed her facial expression showed the moment she reacted in pain, although any arm grabbing was obscured by Ms McMenamin.
Clark said she was justified in making the arrest.
‘Were you intending to pervert the course of justice?’ asked Mr Hodivala.
‘Not at all,’ said Clark. ‘Through this whole process I’ve got nothing to gain, I really haven’t.’
She denied lying about what had happened when she booked Ms McMenamin the police station that night.
‘I’d do absolutely anything to prove I’m not,’ she said.
Ms McMenamin was detained but not charged with assault after the CCTV was viewed. She was given a caution for public disorder and possessing a small amount of cannabis.
‘This investigation has been the most traumatic and devastating time of my life,’ Clark added.
Clark said she had been put on medication for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, that she suffered nightmares and flashbacks, that she had cancelled her wedding and split from her boyfriend as a result.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Virginia Cornwall, said Ms McMenamin was ‘upset and indignant’ about the arrest and thought her finger had been broken.
‘The Crown say she had been wrongly arrested,’ said the prosecutor. ‘There had been no assault on Lucy Clark.’
As a result of what happened Ms McMenamin was held in custody. When police reviewed the footage no action was taken against her. She then made an official complaint about her treatment to Devon and Cornwall Police.
When Clark was asked to explain herself she repeated the claim that she had been assaulted.
Ms Cornwall said: ‘This is not a question of the officer being confused. It is not a question of a mistake. The officer perhaps had very little to gain by making these assertions but she did and it had consequences.
‘Shniece McMenamin was unlawfully detained.
‘She perhaps took against Shniece McMenamin and there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason to make up the allegation of assault. She adopted a cavalier attitude.’
She added: ‘But for that CCTV there is every chance that Sniece McMenamin would have been prosecuted for an offence she did not commit – one of assaulting an officer.’
The prosecutor said the public expected the police to behave with integrity, responsibility and ‘respect for diversity’.
‘The Crown say this woman has not in her account of events been honest in what she has said happened.’
The trial continues.