The Guardian’s piece on football fans being abused by the police made for chilling reading.
The sad case of Tommy Meyers, an innocent fan who was attacked by a police dog, mirrors that of Mr. B, a client of mine.
He had been on an awayday to watch Everton play Stoke City with friends. He was transported with hundreds of other fans from the ground to Stoke-on-Trent train station. Upon arrival, he went to enter the station to travel home. As he did so, he was confronted by a British Transport Police officer who told him to disperse. Mr B repeated his appeal in a non confrontational manner to enter the station whereupon the officer unleashed his dog upon him so causing Mr B severe injuries.
Mr. B approached me as I am a specialist actions against the police solicitor. Following investigations I was convinced that he was, indeed, the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice and lodged a civil claim on his behalf.
Over 2 months later, Mr B was informed that he was to be prosecuted for using threatening, abusive or insulting words contrary to section 4 of the Public Order Act.
Following representations, those criminal proceedings were withdrawn.
The civil claim was vigorously defended. Relevant CCTV footage of the incident was mysteriously lost. Other non relevant CCTV footage and witness evidence was disclosed seeking to suggest that Mr B was a known football hooligan.
After a 23 day trial, the jury found that the dog had been negligently unleashed, that Mr B had been unlawfully arrested and then the subject of a malicious prosecution. He was awarded in excess of £93,000 in damages plus all his legal costs.
I am saddened that, despite this high profile case, it would appear that lessons have not been learned.