Leslie Thomas has once again secured substantial damages plus costs for a man who was wrongly arrested and assaulted by police officers. The case demonstrates the need for the legal system to hold the police and others in public office to account.
Mr Frederick Battick, who was described as a 'hero' and 'public spirited', was wrongly arrested and assaulted on 4 June 2004. Furthermore the police officers who arrested him committed a misfeasance in public office against him, a jury at Central London Trial Centre found yesterday.
Represented by Leslie Thomas, Mr Battick explained to the jury that moments earlier he had disarmed a woman who was threatening a man with a long kitchen knife. He was on his way to the police station to hand the knife in, when he was stopped by police officers who had been called out to the scene of the disturbance. Despite Mr Battick's act of bravery the officers then set about searching Mr Battick. They found a child benefit book (his daughter's) on Mr Battick's person and his photo driving licence which was in his name, then proceeded to accuse him of having stolen the benefit book. Mr Battick said this was 'ridiculous' as the benefit book was in his surname name and belonged to his wife, and the police had his ID. Mr Battick snatched him benefit book back from the officers and was then set upon by the two police officers, Mr Bacca and Mr Dempsey. Both officers arrested Mr Battick for threatening behaviour and accused Mr Battick of being the aggressor and violent. Mr Battick denied this and maintained that the police officers concocted a false account of the circumstances of his arrest. He was detained for some seven hours before being released.
Mr Battick's evidence was accepted by the jury at the trial. As the trial judge HHJ Freeland QC said in his summing up, the police officers were subjected to 'robust and tenacious' but at all times fair cross examination by Leslie. The Defendant agreed damages of £16,000 plus Mr Battick's legal costs.
Leslie was instructed by Susie Labinjoh of Hodge Jones Allen solicitors.