A 19 year old client of mine won £7,500 compensation for his actions against the police claim from Merseyside Police after being unlawfully arrested and imprisoned while they searched his family’s home.
Stephen Weston (details used with permission) was walking back from a job interview when he was spotted by two police officers on the lookout for carjackers. When stopped, he confirmed that he had just been to a job interview at an office less than 100 yards away and showed his appointment card and return bus pass.
The police officers ignored his alibi which would have taken minutes to investigate. Instead they arrested him and took him to Copy Lane Police Station, Bootle.
Following his arrest and without warning, the police later turned up at his mother’s house and searched the bedroom he shares with his disabled older brother.
“I have never been so frightened in my life,” said Mrs Weston.” I was worried that Stephen hadn’t come home straight after his job interview, so when the police knocked at the door at 9:00pm, I feared the worst. They told me that Stephen was under arrest but didn’t say what for and demanded access to the bedroom he shares with his brother. I have never been in this situation before. Although I clearly identified Stephen’s things, they also searched his brother’s possessions. Only when Stephen called me from the police station later did I find out what was happening..”
Stephen Weston was eventually released after 20 hours in custody. He instructed me to investigate whether there had been any wrongdoing and if he could make an actions against the police claim. I obtained police radio logs which confirmed that Stephen had been innocently caught up in a pursuit of car thieves.
I also established that the police had every opportunity to verify Stephen Weston’s alibi before formally arresting him. This could have been done within minutes of him being stopped as his interview had taken place just yards away. Further, by showing his return bus pass he made it clear that he was reliant on public transport, unlike a car thief. It is quite evident that the officers were blind to the obvious and that Mr. Weston was unnecessarily locked up for an excessive length of time.
Following court proceedings and shortly before trial, Merseyside Police agreed to pay Stephen Weston compensation of £7,500.00 plus costs.
On receiving his compensation following his police claim, Stephen told me, “I am going to use the money to start my own blind business so I don’t need to go for any more job interviews. Although it was a terrible experience, something good has come out of this.”