Successful Police Action

Thursday 22 March 2007

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On March 22nd 2007 Mr Barry Kerbey won his action against the Defendant (The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis) for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. He claimed damages including aggravated and exemplary damages. Mr Kerbey was represented by Leslie Thomas of Garden Court Chambers, and solicitor Ms Nighat Sari of Christian Khan Solicitors.

Mr Kerbey was awarded £15,000 damages, and his costs on an indemnity basis. The irony in this case is the Claimant (Mr Kerbey) would have been prepared to settle this case for a modest sum of £7500, however the Metropolitan Police refused to enter into any negotiations with the Claimant. In the end the Claimant recovered double what he was prepared to settle for. In making the costs order against the Defendant the Judge penalised the Police for the stance they took over failing to enter negotiations with the award of the indemnity costs.

When asked how he felt, Mr Kerbey said he was grateful to his legal team and the efforts they had made in securing a great victory for him. But added, all he ever wanted was an apology and acknowledgement that the police had done wrong. However, he was extremely happy with the Jury's award and the fact they believed him.

On 22 March a jury at the Central London County Court found in the Claimant's favour in relation to all three civil wrongs.
The facts are briefly as follows:

1. On 23 August 2001 the Claimant (Mr Barry Kerbey) and his son John were both at Wimbledon Magistrates Court attending a hearing unrelated to either of them. The Claimant was at the Court to act as a Surety for another man. The Claimant's mobile phone went off in court and he was asked by the Magistrate to leave court. A PC Power was asked to escort the Claimant from the court.

2. The Claimant and his son left court. They were followed by PC Power who the Claimant says pushed him and was aggressive. It was the Claimant's case that he was manhandled out of court. The jury accepted the Claimant's evidence that he was and that the force used by the officer was excessive and unreasonable. The Police tried to contend that the Claimant and his son were creating a disturbance and being unreasonable.

3. When the Claimant approached the metal detector scanning machine. He says that he was pushed into it causing it to fall over. The jury found that PC Power lied when he contended that the Claimant deliberately pushed the metal detector over causing up to £5000 worth of damage.

4. The Jury also found that the Claimant had been wrongly arrested for criminal damage, and that the police officer gave false evidence at a criminal trial when he again maintained that the Claimant deliberate pushed the scanner over.

5. In their verdict the jury found that the metal detector scanner was not pushed over deliberately, the Claimant had been assaulted by PC Power and that PC Power lied and made up a false charge of criminal damage.

6. The sum of £15,000 damages was agreed by the parties, without the need for the jury to resolve the issue of damages.

Claims against the Police and Public Authorities: Leslie is a specialist in the "civil rights" torts against the police and police-related litigation, including false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, trespass to property/person and misfeasance in public office. There is a strong "human rights" dimension to his work. He has an extensive paperwork and trial work practice. He is a leading junior who handles very many difficult and complex police jury trials. He is a well-known jury advocate in this field, and is instructed nationally by firms of solicitors.

He is an active member of the Police Action Lawyers Group. He has been involved in several notable police cases including Winyard v Metropolitan Police (damages case), Hill v Metropolitan Police (leading damages case) and Lamothe v Metropolitan Police (on the illegitimacy of secret hearings brought by the police under the CPR).

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