Five police officers are to appear in court charged with assaulting a family suspected of dodging a taxi fare.

The five – four PCs and a sergeant – are accused of using disproportionate force while responding to a 999 call.

They all face charges of assault by beating and if found guilty could be jailed for up to six months or fined up to £5,000.

PCs Lucy Fenney, Natalie Jennings, Jacqueline Peel and Oliver Pullen and Sergeant Chris O’Leary, who were all then based at Horsham Police Station, were allegedly violent towards James High, Jane High, Josh High and Andrew High while trying to make arrests.

The incident followed a 999 call when officers were called to a taxi driver who said a group of passengers had assaulted him and fled without paying.

It is alleged when the five officers responded to the call in Mile Ash Road, Barns Green, Horsham, at 1.40am on June 25, 2011, they were overly violent while making arrests.

Private prosecution

After the case against the Highs was dropped they began their own private prosecution against the five police officers.

In July the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take control of the case and run the prosecution itself.

Tomorrow (December 13) the officers are due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court for the first day of a two-day trial.

Fenney, Jennings, Pullen and O’Leary are still based in Horsham, where they worked when the incident took place, while Peel now works at Gatwick Airport.

Court records seen by The Argus do not give the police officers’ addresses or ages unlike other defendants in cases.

A Sussex Police statement said: “They have all pleaded not guilty following an incident.

“The charges relate to alleged assaults which took place when officers were making arrests.”

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