I represented Peter Garrigan (shown below, details used with his permission), a 26-year-old man from Liverpool, in his claim that British Transport Police (‘BTP’) assaulted him and gave false evidence.
On 31 October 2013, BTP were ordered to pay £13,000 plus legal costs after a four-day trial at Liverpool County Court.
Background of this false evidence claim
Mr Garrigan was arrested and assaulted by BTP at Lime Street Station on 19 March 2009 as he attempted to assist his younger brother Daniel.
Daniel was detained by a ticket inspector as he had an invalid train ticket. The inspector called the police when Mr Garrigan refused to leave his brother’s side.
British Transport Police officers PC Quest and WPC Marshallsay appeared and told Mr Garrigan to leave. Peter refused and attempted to explain the situation on behalf of his brother.
PC Quest then took his arm. As Mr Garrigan broke free, telling the police that force was unnecessary, PC Quest:
- pushed him against a wall;
- kneed him in the stomach;
- punched him;
- forced him to the ground with a ‘leg sweep’;
- pinned him face down on the train station floor; and
- put him in handcuffs.
Mr Garrigan was arrested for a breach of Section 4 of the Public Order Act (1986) (‘POA’), for allegedly threatening unlawful violence against PC Quest.
He was taken to Wavertree Police Station.
Following an interview, Peter was issued a Fixed Penalty Notice for a breach of Section 5 of the POA for using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’.
After Mr Garrigan indicated that he would appeal against the notice the police dropped the case against him ‘for procedural purposes’.
The police assault left him with visible injuries to the head, face and shoulders, as well as headaches and pains which lasted for 6 months.
Peter Garrigan had never been arrested before or since the incident at Lime Street station.
Actions against the police claim for false evidence
Mr Garrigan instructed me as I am a solicitor who specialises in actions against the police, to pursue a compensation claim.
He insisted that the police had submitted false evidence against him to justify the police assault and issuing of the Fixed Penalty Notice.
He claimed that the police officers who assaulted him lied when he was booked in at Wavertree Police Station to cover up the police assault, police misconduct, and to justify prosecuting him.
BTP denied liability and the claim for false evidence.
I was confident that Peter was telling the truth however, and given the seriousness of the charge of false evidence and his means, was able to obtain legal aid for him to pursue his claim against the police.
First trial in the false evidence claim
I issued proceedings in Peter Garrigan’s claim against the police, alleging police assault, unlawful arrest, fabrication of false evidence, and misfeasance in public office.
Unsurprisingly the police maintained their denial of liability all the way to trial.
The case was first tried in Liverpool County Court in October 2012.
Although a full hearing, including cross-examination of my client took place, no verdict was reached as the judge fell ill.
Second trial where false evidence claim was raised
At the re-trial in June 2013, the jury could not reach a verdict.
(I blogged about this at the time in this post: https://iaingould.co.uk/2013/06/13/why-have-jury-trials-in-actions-against-the-police/)
Peter was determined to continue with the case, despite the disappointing result.
Unfortunately, the Legal Aid Agency decided not to continue to support his claim with legal aid on the grounds that the costs incurred so far did not justify continuance.
So, I and Mr Garrigan’s barrister, proceeded on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.
Third trial where a false evidence claim was proven
At the third trial, which took four days in late October 2013, the jury heard that BTP’s case was that Peter had been disorderly, resulting in his arrest and the issuing of the Fixed Penalty Notice.
Following a viewing of the CCTV evidence, and hearing from Peter, the jury found that in fact it had been one of the officers, PC Paul Quest, who had unlawfully punched Mr Garrigan ‘one or more times’ while unlawfully arresting him and holding him against a wall.
The CCTV footage showed that PC Quest and a Merseyrail ticket inspector then wrestled the already injured Mr Garrigan to the ground.
Mr Garrigan was then unlawfully detained at Wavertree Road Police Station.
At the police station PC Quest, the same officer who had just assaulted him, gave false evidence by repeatedly accusing Peter of being the guilty party.
The jury also unanimously found that the police made up false evidence against Peter ‘in order to cause him to be punished for something they knew he had not done or to escape punishment for their own misconduct’.
Outcome of this false evidence claim against the police
After the jury verdict British Transport Police immediately agreed to pay Mr Garrigan £13,000 compensation and full legal costs.
The award paid to my client reflects the injustice he suffered at the hands of British Transport Police.
After four years, Peter Garrigan can move on with his life.
Media reports in this false evidence case
The BBC reported on Peter Garrigan’s false evidence case here, and noted that an internal investigation into the BTP’s ‘failings’ will now take place.
Railnews (click on the link) quoted the BTP’s apology, which only occurred after the trial, and in the media rather than to Mr. Garrigan directly.
Peter was interviewed for the ITV ‘Tonight’ programme ‘Can We Trust the Police’. It was aired nationwide on 13 February 2014 and can be seen (for a short time) here.
For more information about making your own claim against the police please go to the homepage.