The policeman from Kongsberg who accessed the phone of a man who had filmed the arrest of another man, has been fined NOK 12,000 by the Bureau of Police Affairs. – Deletion of evidence is an attack on the rule of law, says the leader of the defence group in the Norwegian Bar Association, Marius Oscar Dietrichson.
A policeman has been charged with violence following the incident at Kongsberg last autumn. According to the indictment, the police officer put a man on the ground and hit him repeatedly in the head and body with a clenched fist. The man is also accused of hitting another man in the thigh with a telescopic baton.
The incident was filmed by one of those involved and it was this video that the officer deleted shortly afterwards. (NTB)
The case has attracted great attention and consternation high up in the political ranks, after Dagbladet and later several other media outlets published a surveillance video showing that the police used severe violence against three young men. The video also shows a policeman arresting a person who had filmed the basketball attack.
Late yesterday, the Bureau issued a new injunction against one of the other policemen:
The Bureau found it proved beyond reasonable doubt that A, after apprehending B, accessed B’s mobile phone and deleted at least one video recording, both from the camera function or the “Recent” album and from the “Newly Deleted” album.
The Bureau believed that A’s deletion was unwarranted and that the act represented a serious breach of duty. Furthermore, the Bureau had no doubt that A acted with gross negligence. Section 172 of the Criminal Code was therefore violated.
A was given a fine of NOK for the infringements. NOK 12,000, subsidiary imprisonment for 12 days. (Special Unit)
One of the three policemen who were involved has been charged with the use of violence and breach of duty, he himself went to report one of the arrested, who he claims made death threats. The Bureau of Police Affairs has previously characterised this report as “obviously incorrect”.
Lawyer Sidra Bhatti at the law firm Rogstad is the legal representative for the three victims. She speaks to NRK:
I accept that the special unit has proven that the police officer actually deleted key evidence, but I am reacting to the determination of reaction. Any other person would normally receive a more severe punishment than that given here, says Bhatti.
My client is disappointed by what he perceives as discrimination. A police officer must of course have the same punitive reaction as other people would get. This is not the case here, explains Bhatti. (NRK)
Leader of the defence group in the Danish Bar Association, Marius Oscar Dietrichson is even sharper in his criticism:
Police violence is serious, but it is even worse if the surrounding system downplays it, writes false reports and deletes evidence. It is completely unacceptable that a police colleague covers it up and ensures that evidence is deleted. It is an attack on the rule of law, and helps to remove social structures, says Dietrichson. (NRK)
The Bureau has used Section 172 of the Criminal Code on grossly negligent misconduct as a legal basis.