September 22 2014 Latest news:
by Tom Marshall
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
A female police community support officer (PCSO) has been cleared of sexually assaulting a young male colleague by repeatedly spanking his bottom.
Josephine Browne, 50, went on trial on Monday accused of smacking her fellow officer’s buttocks about six times on August 18 last year – hitting him so hard there was still a mark an hour or two later.
The alleged incident at a Camden police station followed a string of unwanted advances over several months, her trial at Southwark Crown Court was told.
But she was cleared of the sex offence yesterday after the jury deliberated for less than an hour.
During the trial, the younger man, another Camden PCSO who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury he was attempting to haul a heavy cabinet up some stairs with another co-worker when she struck.
Browne, of Munster Square, Regent’s Park, was supposed to be opening the doors when the man suddenly felt three “big spanks” on his bottom, the jury heard.
“I was really shocked,” he said.
“I told her to stop, but she continued – there were about two or three more afterwards.”
He said the blows were so strong there was still a mark when he got changed “an hour or two later” after his shift.
He added: “It made me feel paranoid about what she could do next.
“I didn’t know if she could do it to someone else or any members of the public.”
The man also claimed that Browne once stared at him while he was getting changed in a “weird” manner reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film Psycho.
He also told the jury she leant over “seductively” and said “I know why you’re taking me to the top floor” when the pair were in a lift together, on their way to a burglary victim’s flat.
But church-goer Browne called his claims “laughable” and “ridiculous”, saying spanking was “not something I would do to somebody in or out of duty”.
“At no point have I sexually assaulted him or any member of that group,” she added.
“The only thing I have done is put my hands on someone’s shoulders, but not in a sexual way.
“I would say something like ‘Oh, hello boys’ in a jokey way because we had a bit of banter.
“Maybe it is not wise exactly but no-one has ever come to me and said ‘please don’t do that’.”
Prosecutor Leo Seelig accused her of having an “unhealthy interest” in the younger officer, but she said she “didn’t find him attractive at all”.
Browne sighed with relief as the not guilty verdict was announced yesterday.
She also denied an alternative count of common assault, relating to the same incident.
The jury found her not guilty of the alternative charge this morning.