Prisoner jailed for throwing urine after 'innovative' use of law

A man who threw urine at a prison officer has been jailed for 20 months after a Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) detective from the South East Prison Investigation Team made an innovative use of the law to prosecute the case.

Apr 22, 2020
By Tony Thompson
Michael Raheem

Michael Raheem, 22 was jailed for administering poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy after throwing his urine at a prison officer in HMP Belmarsh in October 2018.

Raheem had approached a female prison officer holding a shower gel bottle filled with yellow liquid, which he sprayed at her. He was detained by staff and the half-full bottle was retained.

Such an act would normally lead to a charge of common assault – carrying a maximum sentence of six months. However, the officer assigned to the case, Detective Constable Natalie Ford, believed that Raheem should face prosecution under section 24 of the Offences Against the Person Act (OAPA) 1861, which requires proof that a noxious substance has been used with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

To make the incident applicable under the legislation, DC Ford had to confirm that the liquid in the bottle was urine but quickly discovered that no such test existed. While the MPS forensics team routinely tests urine for the presence of substances such as drugs or alcohol, it had no way of confirming to a court that a previously unknown liquid was in fact urine.

This led to a review of the testing capability offered by forensic providers until a company was identified that was able to examine the liquid and confirm beyond reasonable doubt that the liquid was urine.

The case is the first of its kind in London.

Detective Chief Inspector John Massey, from the South East Command Unit, said: “This conviction shows a real persistence and flair for innovation on the part of the officers involved; demonstrating the extra mile the Met will go to ensure the safety of, and justice for, frontline staff.”

On April 17, Raheem appeared via Skype at Woolwich Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to the offence.

Raheem was on remand for robbery when the incident took place. He was subsequently sentenced to six years for the robbery with the 20-month sentence to run consecutively.

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