Police doctor cleared of custody death manslaughter

A doctor accused of manslaughter after a man died in police custody in west London has been acquitted.

Dr Hisham El-Baroudy, 56, was cleared of a charge of gross negligence manslaughter after Andrzej Rymarzak died at Chelsea police station in 2009.

He had said Mr Rymarzak, 43, who had taken drugs and alcohol, was fit to be detained, Southwark Crown Court heard.

After the verdict, Judge Alistair McCreath said the doctor's actions had been "negligent", but not criminal.

'Failures acknowledged'

Mr Rymarzak, a homeless man, who was known to be a heavy drinker and who had epilepsy and schizophrenia, was examined by the doctor three hours before he was found dead in his cell in January 2009.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Rymarzak died from a combination of alcohol and opiate intoxication.

After the verdict on Thursday, the judge said: "There was never any dispute in this case that the defendant was negligent in the way in which he conducted his duties at Chelsea police station on that night.

"He acknowledged that his failures consisted at least of him not rousing a patient who was almost certainly unconscious, examining him for no longer than a minute, and not making elementary inquiries into his history whilst in police custody - never looking at the custody record.

"It should not therefore be thought that the jury's verdict acquits him of fault because it does not.

"But it acquits him of fault that criminalises him."

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