Michael Brunskill represented LR (a serving Army officer) who was prosecuted for assaulting a police officer in proceedings before Newcastle Magistrates Court (2014).
The case arose from events that took place when LR was out with some of his soldiers one evening in Newcastle city centre. The group were having a leaving celebration before LR moved on to another post within the Army.
At one point in the evening, some of the soldiers got involved in a verbal altercation with some civilians outside a bar. The altercation was seen by police officers on patrol and was immediately and forcefully suppressed. A number of soldiers were arrested and taken to the floor before handcuffs were applied. LR attempted to intervene because he thought the police were using excessive force and saw no reason why his soldiers should be arrested.
When trying to intervene, LR was punched in the face by one of the police officers who then arrested him (this much was admitted by the police officers in their accounts of the incident). On arrival at the police station LR was told that he had been arrested because he had grabbed an officer by the throat and had pinned him against a wall. The arresting officer made a statement saying that he had punched LR in the face but had done this in self defence. Although this account was strongly denied by LR, he was charged with assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty.
The officer who made the allegation did not attend trial to give evidence against LR. Other officers who witnessed the incident did attend trial but the magistrates found that a key police witness was not credible in the evidence that he gave. LR was therefore acquitted.