Former government minister Frank McField threatened to kill two police officers that were trying to arrest him before kicking one and spitting in the other’s face, police witnesses claimed in the Summary Court Monday.
The officers were giving evidence on the first day of McField’s trial over charges stemming from an incident at a roadblock set up following a fatal accident on Shamrock Road in the early hours of 15 September, 2006.
McField is facing two disorderly conduct charges; two charges of assaulting police; two charges of obstructing police; two counts of threatening violence; and two charges of resisting arrest.
Crown Counsel Nicola Moore began the Crown’s case, explaining that the two officers had been checking licensed premises that evening – and had seen McField drinking at the Next Level nightclub – before being called out to attend the fatal crash.
There they were asked to man a roadblock by the Cable and Wireless telephone exchange so police investigating the death could collect evidence and clear the road.
At around 3.55am, McField arrived on the scene; his dark Mercedes Benz had its hazard lights on and was overtaking other stationary vehicles, the court heard.
Mr. McField got out of passenger’s side door and approached police, Ms Moore said. There, she alleged McField said ‘this is [expletive]’ and demanded to be let through the roadblock. PC Douglas Melville, one of the arresting officers, later explained the police had been on the receiving end of a lot of abuse that night from people waiting at the roadblock and appealed to Mr. McField, as a community leader, to lead by example.
Mr. Melville said he was concerned the situation was getting out of control and called for the traffic officer in charge of the scene to come and explain to the crowd why the road block was required.
After consulting with that officer, it was decided that Mr. Melville would issue a final warning to the crowd that the next person to behave disorderly or abuse police would be arrested. McField responded by saying ‘[expletive] you and your disorderly, you stupid [expletive]’ Mr. Melville claimed.
Mr. Melville and his partner then tried to place McField under arrest but McField pulled away, the court heard. He began abusing the officers, saying something to the effect of ‘[expletive] you, you white racist pigs,’ Mr. Melville said.
Mr. Melville and his partner tried to control McField but all three fell to the ground, where a struggle ensued. While on the ground, McField apparently yelled at them ‘if I get up, I’ll kill you both. You’re dead you [expletive].’
Another officer assisted and McField was eventually handcuffed and returned to his feet. Mr. Melville said he smelt of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.
As the officers moved McField toward the patrol car, he kicked out at Mr. Melville, connecting with him below the knee, Mr. Melville said. He then turned to Melville’s partner, PC Cornelius Van Zyn, and spat in his face, saying something to the effect of ‘I’ll have you off this island. You’re [expletive] dead; racist white pigs,’ Mr. Melville testified.
Mr. Van Zyn made similar allegation against McField during his testimony later in the day.
During cross examination, McField’s attorney, Clyde Allen, put it to Mr. Melville that McField didn’t become angry and abusive until after being arrested, and that the officer’s only arrested McField because of who he was. Mr. Melville rejected this, saying ‘I arrested him because he was the first one to say something after I gave a final warning to the crowd.’
Mr. Allen suggested to the witnesses that they had pinned McField’s face to the asphalt, splitting his lip and smashing his glasses. Both denied this ever happened.
Mr. Allen further questioned whether McField had kicked out at Mr. Melville, suggesting his leg had instead lifted up accidentally when he stumbled backwards toward the patrol car. Both officers denied this. They also rejected Mr. Allen’s claim that McField did not spit on Mr. Van Zyn, but rather was spitting gravel and blood out of his mouth following the struggle.
The trial had been set down for four days in front of Magistrate Grace Donalds, after McField elected to have the charges tried in the Summary Court rather than the Grand Court.
Further charges of disorderly conduct and threatening violence stemming from an incident on the Harquail Bypass on 9 November, 2006, are to be heard at a later date.