Detention officer cleared of police station assault

A civilian detention officer in the Strand Road police station has been cleared of assaulting a detainee.

Colin Rainey, whose address was given as c/o Strand Road PSNI, was charged with common assault in October 2013.

Following a contest at the local Magistrate’s Court, District Judge Barney McElholm dismissed the charge.

The prosecution alleged the 50-year-old was not acting in self-defence when he hit the detainee, but ‘lost his temper’.

It was alleged the detainee was a ‘vulnerable man’ with mental health difficulties.

The court heard during his time in police custody the detainee was ‘extremely difficult and demanding’.

Rainey went into the cell after the detainee asked for a cup of water.

The detainee threw urine over him, hitting Rainey on the legs.

The court heard Rainey then threw the water over to detainee, went towards him and hit him on the back of the head with an open hand.

During police interview, the defendant said he acted in self defence.

It was revealed that the detainee was later taken for treatment for mental health issues, set off an alarm and escaped.

He has never been apprehended.

Giving evidence on his own behalf Rainey said he was a former police officer who left the force in 2010.

He said he became a civilian detention officer a short time later and dealt with difficult, abusive and demanding people on almost a daily basis throughout his career.

Rainey said he hit the detainee so he could leave the cell safely. He added it was also to prevent the detainee leaving the cell.

Under cross-examination, Rainey denied getting annoyed with the detainee and losing his temper.

He said he believed the detainee throwing urine over him was a ‘diversionary tactic to get out of the cell’ and he acted ‘spontaneously’.

Dismissing the charge, Judge McElholm said he did not believe Rainey intended to assault the detainee, but ‘reacted’ after the urine was thrown.

He added ‘there is enough of a doubt to give him the benefit of it’.