Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Briton wins £108k payout after police assault during night out

Measly compensation for the damage done. The rogue cop was the evidently Irish Declan O’Leary

A friend of Mighty Boosh comedian Noel Fielding, whose leg was badly broken when he was arrested as he walked home from an all-night party with the star, has won £108,491 damages from the Metropolitan Police.

James Browne, 54, who has worked as a bodyguard for celebrities including Amy Winehouse, was in hospital for a month and needed several operations after the April 2010 incident in Kentish Town, north London.

The court was told he was previously a very fit man but now cannot work and has been left with depression, a permanent limp and a deformed right leg which means he sometimes has to use a wheelchair.

The assault happened after two police officers recognised Mr Fielding, and believed that he and Mr Browne were showing signs of drug use, said Judge Rosalind Coe at London's High Court.

The two men had been to a party and had not slept, after Mr Fielding performed a gig at the 100 Club and met up with Mr Browne at the Hawley Arms pub.

Having been "almost the last men standing" at the party, Mr Browne was asked to clear up some wraps and drug paraphernalia as he left, and he put them in his pocket, intending to put them in a public bin.

At a convenience store, where Mr Fielding had gone to buy bread and milk and Mr Browne some cigarettes, Mr Browne was forcibly removed, restrained and handcuffed, with a search revealing the wraps - which contained a trace of cocaine, resulting in no further action.

After he was arrested, an ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital.

Mr Fielding was also handcuffed before being taken to the police station where he was strip searched. No drugs were found and he was released without charge.

Ruling on Mr Browne's action for assault and battery, the judge said she did not accept the police evidence that Mr Fielding was stumbling and obviously "high".

The comedian was an honest and straightforward witness, she said, who acknowledged frankly that he was very tired and had been drinking.

He said he was aware of a struggle between Mr Browne, who was on the ground, and the officers, but he did not see any violence, said the judge.

She did not find that the police officer deliberately kicked Mr Browne, causing him injury but, because he believed he was being deliberately ignored, the constable used force to restrain him so as to search for drugs.

"I accept his evidence that, from his point of view, he was set upon by the police officer without warning'," said the judge.

"The officer used unnecessary and unreasonable force to restrain him, believing he was being ignored. "Thus it amounted to an assault."

The judge said that the officer was clearly convinced that Mr Browne would have drugs on him if he were searched.

He did not have any cause for that conviction other then Mr Fielding's celebrity status, the time and location, and possibly the fact that it was apparent the men had been up all night, the judge added.

She did not find that Mr Browne was trying to dispose of the drugs, destroy evidence or try to swallow them, and said the use of force was not therefore justified.

Mr Browne had not obeyed the police command to stop because he did not appreciate it was being directed at him but, even if he should have, the police response was so excessive as to negate any contributory negligence on his part, the judge said.

The officer did not make adequate attempts before going straight to "excessive physical restraint" to alert Mr Browne to his presence and wish to search him, she said.

Mr Browne's damages includes sums for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life together with loss of earnings and care.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

No comments: