Merseyside Police settle claim for false imprisonment and disability discrimination following unlawful strip search of severely disabled young woman

Tuesday 28 February 2017

The Claimant, TW, is an extremely vulnerable, young adult, who lacks capacity. In addition to autism, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and associated risk behaviours, she suffers from a very severe and complex form of epilepsy which she was born with and which means she is susceptible to different forms of seizures and a limited life expectancy.

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When out shopping with new carers one day she became fixated on some felt tip pens which, although she did not have enough money to pay for, she insisted on taking. Her carers called the police. The police tried to persuade her to return them and threatened her with arrest. TW spat at a police officer. She was arrested for theft and assaulting a PC. She was man-handled, handcuffed and taken in the back of a police van to the police station without her carers. She was then placed in a cell and had her clothing removed without an appropriate adult present, despite her mother and carers being present at the police station at this time. The police refused to accept liability and refused to accept that she was strip searched within the meaning of PACE 1984, despite Maya’s earlier case against them establishing that removal of clothing was a strip search, PD (by her mother and LF, ZD) v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and Just For Kids Law & CRAE (Interveners) [2015] EWCA Civ 114.

TW brought claims against Merseyside Police for false imprisonment, assault, disability discrimination and breaches of the HRA 1998. Merseyside Police recently settled this case pre-trial. TW can now go on what may be her last holiday with her mum, due to TW’s limited life expectancy.

Maya was instructed by Adam Quick of James Murray solicitors (soon to be joining Stephensons solicitors).  Maya was also instructed by James Murray in the PD case.

Maya Sikand is Head of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team, and is a member of the Claims Against the Police and Public Authorities Team.

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