A Cornish judge has ruled that a police officer acted unlawfully when he tried to force his way into a Long Rock family’s home and pulled a Taser on them. The policeman went to Stephen Curnow’s home after being asked to help an RSPCA inspector who had been told to leave the property. The policeman had no warrant when he arrived at the house on September 6 last year, and although he later claimed that Mr Curnow, had acted in an aggressive way, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, ruled that he was in no doubt the officer had overstepped the mark and inflamed the situation. Mr Curnow, who runs a pheasant shoot near Crowlas, had his shotgun and firearms licenses revoked after the incident.
It all started when RSPCA inspector Michael Reid visited Mr Curnow’s home and asked to inspect his dogs after the charity received an anonymous tip-off that one was suffering from mange. This was later found not to be the case. Mr Reid was refused entry but in the judge’s words, “he would not take no for an answer”.
The judge said: “It was a case of the RSPCA inspector going too far in trying to persuade the officer to force an entry for him.” “The police had no authority to enter the appellant’s home,” he said. “The police officer was acting in excess of his lawful authority, trespassing without a warrant.”
After the hearing, Mr Curnow said: “I always urge everybody to fight the system, not to be afraid of it. It is there to protect us as well as punish us.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said requesting police attendance was usual procedure if access was refused.
(We are pleased to report that Mr Curnow’s licenses have been returned.)