HNK Solicitors have recently helped a client, referred to as ‘G’, secure a substantial sum in compensation through a civil action against the police claim against the Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary (the Defendant).
Our client sought damages for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment, assault and battery, trespass to the person, personal injury, and malicious prosecution. The claim was settled for £15,250 for damages and legal costs.
You do not have to accept poor police conduct or improper treatment by the police. This case shows that those who are mistreated by the police are entitled to seek compensation and should do so in order to be able to move on from the incident. Read on to find out more about the details of this case, why the claimant was eligible for compensation, and discover how we can help you if you are looking to seek compensation.
On 13th June 2020, G attended an animal rights protest in Norwich. Here G was arrested by Officer A for committing a Section 5 public order offence as he alleged she was using foul and abusive language towards the farmers.
G was handcuffed to the rear and escorted to Wymondham Police Station, where her detention was authorised. G was interviewed, released with bail conditions and later charged under Sections 4A(1) and (5) of the Public Order Act 1986.
On 6th July 2020, a statement was taken from one of the farmers. She alleged that G had called her a “f**king murdering old bitch” and shouted “rapist” whilst still looking at her.
Around the 15th of October 2020, there was a separate ongoing criminal investigation, which led to G’s mobile phone being seized. On 20th October 2020, G’s Criminal Solicitor advised the Defendant that it has become apparent there may be evidence, i.e. footage, on the mobile phone relating to this specific incident and that the Defence requires this evidence to present her case.
G’s Criminal Solicitor asked whether the Defendant was in the position to release the phones or whether G could have limited access for the purpose of retrieving the footage. This request was denied.
Following a full trial, on 25th January 2021, G was convicted of Section 4. A Public Order Act. She was sentenced, as follows:
- Conditional discharge for 12 months
- £300 costs
- £22 victim surcharge
Following the retrieval of G’s phone, G appealed the conviction as she was in possession of video footage that showed the entirety of the incident in question.
On 6th May 2022, the appeal took place before Norwich Crown Court. G’s Criminal Solicitor showed the mobile phone footage to the Prosecution. The footage showed G standing in front of the complainant’s truck, and all she was heard to say is: “you’re disgusting” and “you’re an animal abuser,” but not the words alleged by the complainant.
The Prosecution agreed with G’s Criminal Solicitor’s position that the charge of intentionally causing harassment to the complainant cannot be made out evidentially. In light of the footage, the Prosecution offered no evidence and the appeal was allowed.
In the Court’s Hearing Recording, the following was said:
“Her Honour asks the parties to notify her within 28 days as to whether the Defence actually asked for the mobile phone footage between Oct 2020 (when her phone was seized) and January 2021 (when she was convicted) as if they did and it was refused, then that would be of concern to her.”
This case is an example of unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. As G was arrested for using ‘foul and abusive language’ though it turned out that this was not the case, G’s arrest was unlawful, and her subsequent imprisonment would constitute false imprisonment.
Also, because G requested her seized phone from the Defendant to recover the footage needed to provide G’s innocence at trial, and they declined, this could be classed as malicious prosecution.
The law is clear and outlined below.
Unlawful Arrest and False Imprisonment
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”) governs the correct procedures police officers have to follow to ensure their conduct is lawful and carefully balances the rights of the individual against the powers of the police.
Section 24 PACE provides officers with the power to arrest a person without a warrant if that officer has:
- a) Reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has committed an offence
- b) Reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to arrest the person in question.
To succeed in malicious prosecution, the Claimant must prove:
- a) The Defendant was instrumental in your prosecution – This means the police officers played an active role in your prosecution by way of providing evidence or withholding the same.
- b) The prosecution was decided in your favour – This means you must be found not guilty.
- c) The prosecution was without reasonable and probable cause – This means the prosecution continued without proper grounds to prove the charge.
- d) The prosecution was malicious – This means the actions of the Defendant were motivated by some other means than bringing you to justice.
- e) You suffered damage as a result of the prosecution.
In May 2022, G approached HNK Solicitors to act on her behalf, for this matter. We accepted instruction on a no-win, no-fee basis, and the case was handled by Vivien Lee, Solicitor.
HNK claimed damages against the Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary for several reasons:
- for the arrest and subsequent imprisonment
- the assault and battery of grabbing G’s wrists and handcuffing her
- the trespass to her person of the search of her person
- personal injury
Damages were also claimed for malicious prosecution, in that footage was withheld during the first trial, which led to a guilty verdict against G, but once disclosed, exonerated G of any offence.
A letter of claim was served on the police force solicitors. This set out our client’s claim and also requested several pieces of documentation, which we required to properly advise G. The police force solicitors did not confirm whether liability was admitted or denied, however, they did enter into settlement negotiations.
Following negotiations, G received the sum of £15,250.00 in full and final settlement of her damages and legal costs.
HNK Solicitors can help with your civil action against the police claim
Police misconduct can have a long-lasting impact on an individual, and can deeply affect them in many ways. The consequences of it can range from emotional distress and physical injuries to loss of earnings and reputational damage.
It is, therefore, important for anyone who has suffered mistreatment by the police to take action and seek the compensation they deserve. This compensation can go a long way in helping an individual to recover and move past the incident.
When pursuing a civil action against the police claim, it is vital you seek support from dedicated solicitors with experience in this area. At HNK Solicitors, we have a team of actions against police solicitors with many years of experience helping clients who have suffered police misconduct seek compensation.
Our solicitors offer tailored support based on our in-depth understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. We are here to help every step of the way and fight to ensure you get the full amount that you’re entitled to.
We provide free consultations to discuss the details of your case, and we can even accept instructions on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t pay us a penny.
If you’d like to arrange a free consultation to get started on your civil action against the police claim, simply fill out our online claim form, call us on 0151 668 0814 or send us an email at email@example.com.