Just over 2 years ago, a new client emailed me. Pedro, from South America, had just been acquitted of assaulting a police officer following a trial at the Magistrates’ Court. He now wanted to bring an action against the Met Police and was hoping for some “justice”.
I was in London at the time and suggested he call me in the morning. Later that same day, he replied advising that he had decided to carry on with the same firm that had represented him in the Magistrates’ Court. You can see our text messages below:
After a few days, Pedro called me. He explained that following enquiries with his criminal defence solicitors he had decided that he wanted me to act.
I obtained Pedro’s file of papers from his criminal defence solicitors and all other available documentation and then met him for a lengthy face-to-face meeting whereupon I took his full instructions.
Following a night out in April 2017, Pedro had fallen foul of encountered several Metropolitan Police Officers in an incident that resulted in him being violently arrested for allegedly breaching section 5 of the Public Order Act and assaulting 2 officers, during which arrest he suffered multiple soft tissue injuries. As above, he was subsequently prosecuted and acquitted following trial at Stratford Magistrates’ Court.
In terms of evidence, we had Pedro’s account (somewhat tainted by his admission that during the day he had drank 6 pints of beer and 3 glasses of spirits), the account of 5 police officers and some limited CCTV footage which caught the later part of the incident only.
The first thing I had to do was disabuse Pedro of the notion that just because he had been acquitted, he had a ‘cast iron’ claim against the Met.
Certainly his acquittal was of paramount importance to his proposed claim for malicious prosecution (no acquittal, no claim).
Furthermore, the findings of the Magistrates’ Court were certainly helpful to Pedro’s cause and in my opinion, would make it difficult for the police to defend the claim. Difficult, but not impossible, as the findings of the Magistrates’ Court were not binding upon the civil court and further, involved meeting a different standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt).
At the outset of my contact with Pedro, I had alluded to the difficulties that lay ahead for him in his proposed claim. After many years of experience in this field of law, I am accustomed to the trials and tribulations (literal and metaphorical) of pursuing a successful civil action against the police. I have previously blogged about such issues in my blog, ‘Attrition warfare’ and Pedro’s case proved no exception.
Once I intimated a claim on Pedro’s behalf, the Met refused to either admit or deny liability and instead offered £3,000 plus costs in settlement. It was necessary to issue Court proceedings whereupon, of course, a robust defence was filed denying all liability.
Notwithstanding these hurdles, relying on my expertise and knowledge of the law, and familiarity with the way the police litigate these cases, I was able to guide Pedro’s case to a successful conclusion and, I am pleased to confirm that I have just settled his claim for £30,000 plus costs. This is 10 times the amount that the Met initially offered him in settlement of his claim.
I am pleased for both of us that Pedro decided to trust me to handle his case. This is a very specialist area of law, and to get the right result when you are fighting what is often an uphill battle against the Police, you need the right lawyer.
The following is the very kind testimonial which Pedro provided me at the conclusion of his case:-
I contacted Iain Gould. He offered a meeting and straight to the point explanation of what was the cards he had in hands.
The determination to help and winning attitude sounded like an extra ability and not just fancy words i remember reading on “professionals” websites.
During the period of whole process Iain has worked effectively with detail in every action and procedures which provided me with the peace of mind knowing that the someone was going to pay for the injustice i was put through.
In every single legal term and language on documentation received to be signed there was a phone call from Iain followed by explanations of their meanings, how he was going to proceed and different options for me to choose. Due the full trust gained within very short period of time, i have many times just allowed Iain to decide on his own in what was the best and act upon it on my behalf.
Iain has been Amazing throughout the whole process proving that he is a outstanding professional with exceptional standards and vast knowledge on the subject; I could not have chosen better qualified or any other Person to deal with.
(All names changed.)