Victory for Daniel Sylvester in claim against police for unlawful use of taser

Wednesday 25 March 2015

A jury at Central London County Court yesterday awarded Londoner Daniel Sylvester £8200 compensation in a civil claim against the Metropolitan police. On Friday, the court found Mr Sylvester was unlawfully detained and tasered by armed police officers on the street near his home in 2007. Daniel Sylvester was represented at court by Rajeev Thacker of Garden Court Chambers.

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Just after midnight on 20 October 2007, an armed response unit of eight Metropolitan police officers was engaged with approximately 60 other officers in a pre-arranged operation to target gun crime in North and East London. The aim was to stop vehicles where intelligence linked them to gun crime.

The eight officers were wrongly told that Daniel Sylvester’s green Mercedes jeep had been involved in a recent shooting. The officer in charge of the operation ordered that the vehicle be stopped by two cars, each containing three armed police officers.

Last Friday, after seven days of evidence, the jury found for Mr Sylvester on the central issues of whether or not he was lawfully detained and whether or not he was lawfully tasered. They did not accept all of Mr Sylvester’s account. But they rejected police claims that he failed to comply with instructions to get out of his vehicle, contrary to police accounts.  They also found that the use of a Taser to the back of his neck was unreasonable. His Honour Judge Freeland QC then gave judgment in favour of Mr Sylvester, in his claims for assault and false imprisonment.

Following the jury's award of compensation, Judge Freeland gave further vindication to Mr Sylvester by forcefully rejecting arguments for the police that Mr Sylvester had lied or grossly exaggerated his claim and so they should not have to pay any legal costs. The judge ordered the police to pay all of Mr Sylvester’s legal costs.

Rajeev Thacker is a member of the Garden Court police action team. He was instructed by Jo Eggleton, a partner with Deighton Pierce Glynn.

This case has been reported in the Evening Standard and the BBC.

To contact Rajeev Thacker call 020 7993 7600 or email rajeevt@gclaw.co.uk

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