A FORMER Gwent police officer has been found not guilty of assaulting a convicted drug dealer who he was trying to arrest.

Dealer Mikael Boukhari described how former Gwent officer Gediminas Palubinskas pepper sprayed him and hit him with a cosh (baton) on his legs, arms and head, causing him to soil himself as well as sustain injuries to his head.

  • Update statement form Gwent Police at bottom of article: "Palubinskas showed repeated unprofessional behaviour which will not be accepted by us nor our communities."   

In July 2021, police pulled over a van Mr Boukhari was in and accused him of driving while disqualified, however Mr Boukhari claimed he was sitting in the middle seat.

Mr Boukhari then ran away from the scene and hours later he received a phone call from another officer enquiring whether he’d been involved in an incident. Mr Boukhari then agreed to attend a meeting with officers and while there, Mr Palubinskas grabbed Mr Boukhari’s hand causing him to bolt.

Mr Boukhari was then found in a back garden, in Livale Court in the Bettws area of Newport, and it was here he claimed the assault took place.

Mr Boukhari described how Mr Palubinskas pepper sprayed him, and beat him with a cosh on his legs, arms and head, so he retaliated by punching Mr Palubinskas twice.

The incident ended when another officer came to the scene. By then, Mr Boukhari realised he soiled himself.

On the day in question, Mr Boukhari claimed he was scared having not been in that situation before, part of the reason he reacted as he did.

Mr Boukhari also insisted he had not lied about the attack, or deliberately avoided the police during the incident, however, in summing up, Mr Palubinskas’ defence barrister Sharonjita Bahia argued this case should never have been brought to court.

“The nonsense is we are here in the first place,” said Ms Bahia. “The witness is unreliable, untrustworthy and inaccurate.”

One of the intriguing facts to come out of the trial, held at Swansea Crown Court, was Mr Boukhari’s extensive criminal record.

Mr Boukhari has 41 previous convictions for 71 offences including 10 driving while disqualified offences, three offences of being in possession of a knife, 13 offences for theft, and drug offences including dealing heroin and cocaine.

At Swansea Crown Court on June 27, it took a jury less than two hours to come back with a not guilty verdict on behalf of Mr Palubinskas.

"Palubinskas showed repeated unprofessional behaviour": Gwent Police

On the case, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hobrough said: “The allegation of assault against this former officer was serious enough to pass the criminal threshold set by the Crown Prosecution Service and it was important that this individual was given a fair trial by a jury.  

“The officer was dismissed by Gwent Police following an accelerated misconduct hearing which was in relation to separate allegations around inappropriate actions while he was suspended pending the outcome of this trial.

"Palubinskas showed repeated unprofessional behaviour which will not be accepted by us nor our communities.   

“We police with the consent of the public and behaviour such as this only serves to undermine the vast majority of police officers and staff who work tirelessly to protect the public with dignity and courage every day.  

“We will continue to send a clear message to our officers, staff and the public, that this behaviour has no place in our service, and we will pursue and remove those who damage confidence in our police service."