Action against the police successful after they spoil a birthday
In late 2012 our client had arranged to meet at a public house in North London to celebrate a birthday. He arrived at the pub at about 10:30 and joined relatives and friends.
It was a happy atmosphere and he left the pub at around midnight when it closed. Everyone left the pub together. As our client was walking he suddenly heard a car skid to a halt. There were no sirens or horns. He looked up and saw his relatives speaking to the people in the car and then carry on walking onto the other side of the pavement. A police officer jumped out of the car went to the back of his car and took out a dog and then got his baton out. Our client carried on walking. A constable ran past him in the road and grabbed his relatives arm saying “You’re nicked”. He was surprised and asked what was going on and asked why there had been an arrest. The officer shouted at him to keep back. His relative was grabbed from behind by the officer.
More police arrived and for no reason the same officer grabbed his jumper and threw him on the bonnet of a police car and put his arm over his neck. He did not struggle or say anything. Another police officer arrived and he was thrown to the ground. He asked why he was being arrested and was held without explanation on the floor and then put into a police van.
He was then taken to Edmonton Police Station and after 13 hours was charged with section 4(1) and (4) of the Public Order 1996 alleging use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. The others were also charged.
They were ordered to appear at the Magistrates Court pleaded not guilty to the offence along with his relatives and after a 3 day trial all were acquitted of all the allegations against them.
Fortunately a videotape of the arrests was played to the Court which had been taken using a mobile phone. This evidence showed the officer being aggressive. As a result of the evidence given by the defendants and by an independent witnesses and because of the video evidence, the District Judge dismissed the case stating that he did not believe that the police had given an accurate account.
The Judge stated that he found that the video evidence showed that the officer was in a hostile frame of mind. He did not accept that officer ever had grounds to fear that he would be a victim of violence.
Moss & Co advised that there were grounds for arguing that the police had made unlawful arrests, that the actions of the officers constituted assault and the detentions amounted to false imprisonment. Further the prosecution was malicious as the officer knew his account was untrue.
Moss & Co obtained legal Aid for all three defendants after their acquittal. A claim was made but low offers were initially made to settle the case and proceedings had to be issued.
Moss & Co argued their clients case and after negotiations substantial sums were agreed in compensation.
This case illustrates the importance of objective evidence from cameras or independent witnesses when seeking to challenge police misconduct in both the criminal court and when bringing an Action Against the Police in the civil courts..