PC Paul Birch at Birmingham Crown Court where he strands accused of causing grievous bodily harm to Andrew Cash
A police dog handler was involved in a racially motivated attack when his dog bit a traveller after the officer had referred to a group of people at the site as ‘gypos’, a court heard.
West Midlands Police Constable Paul Birch is alleged to have unlawfully and maliciously caused grievous bodily harm to Andrew Cash on September 4 last year in a racially aggravated attack.
Birmingham Crown Court was told that the 50-year-old and fellow officers were called to the former North Worcestershire Golf Course at Northfield, Birmingham, after reports of roof tiles being stolen.
Jurors were shown CCTV of the moment Mr Cash was bitten, and heard he was taken to hospital after the incident.
PC Birch, 50, was responding to a report of roof tiles being stolen from the site of the former North Worcestershire Golf Course on September 4, 2017.
A court heard around 30 travellers had set up an illegal camp at the venue in Northfield, Birmingham, when police were called.
On his way to the scene, Birch called for backup saying, ‘There are some gyppos down here, we need back up’, jurors were told.
Andrew Cash and his wife Bernandette arriving at Birmingham Crown Court today
North Worcestershire golf course where the incident took place in September 2017
When he arrived, members of the public told him that Andrew Cash and his wife Bernadette had threatened them, saying they would ‘cut their throats.’
Mrs Cash then resisted arrest while Mr Cash, who had been calling young girls ‘whores’, stood in front of the police and looked ‘like he was about to elbow an officer.’
Birch then led his dog towards Mr Cash before the canine clamped its jaws around his leg and dragged him for several metres, the court was told.
Mr Cash was taken to hospital for treatment after being attack by the West Midlands Police dog.
Today Birch went on trial charged with racially aggravated wounding, religiously aggravated wounding and grievous bodily harm at Birmingham Crown Court.
Opening the case, prosecutor Michael Shaw said: ‘The defendant is a man of good character and a police officer. Paul Birch is still an officer. He is a dog handler.
‘He was one of many officers that were called to North Worcestershire golf course on September 4, 2017. It had been boarded up since its closure.
‘The police had been called as days before a number of gypsies, around 30 had set up camp there.
PC Birch said before the incident: ‘There are some gyppos down here, we need back up’
‘There were reports there had been a break-in at the club house and roof tiles had been stolen
‘A number of uniformed officers were called and PC Birch arrived as a dog handler.
‘He arrived later and stopped at the front gates of the club and spoke to a member of the public.
‘They had told him, they had been threatened by Mrs Bernadette Cash.
‘She told them she would ‘cut their throats’.
‘They told Birch, Mr Cash had been shouting insults and calling young girls ‘whores’.
‘Mrs Cash wasn’t going to come quietly, they were aggressive and threatened the officers.
‘She resisted and walked back to her caravan.
‘Mr Cash stood in between the officers and his partner, he looked like he was going to elbow one of the officers.
The police Alsatian clamped its jaws around the leg of Mr Cash, pictured
‘Birch then guided the dog forward and the dog bit Cash on his leg. What we say happened next was not lawful.
‘Unlawful wounding is not that the dog bit Mr Cash but it was on the end of a leash.
‘Birch pulled that leash, the dog and Mr Cash for three or four metres behind the caravan to release the dog.
‘That is unlawful or malicious wounding, we say.
‘The IOPC investigation involved them listening to the radio transmission.
‘Birch had used the word ‘gypo’ before attending the scene.
‘He said ‘there are some gypos down here, we need back up’.
‘PC Birch was subsequently interviewed about his actions.
‘You as the jury must decide whether the pulling of the leash was unlawful wounding, whether the use of the word gypo was racially motivated and whether gypsies can be classed a race.’
The jury of four men and eight women were also shown police bodycam footage, which showed the moment Mr Cash was bitten by the canine.
In the footage he can be seen holding the leg being bitten by the dog in the air, whilst rolling around on the floor in pain.
The court heard both Mr and Mrs Cash had pleaded guilty to obstructing police at an earlier hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
Birch, of Chalgrove Avenue, Kings Norton, Birmingham, denies the charge.
The trial continues.