Police tactics fail to prevent mentally ill man pursuing his claim in court

Before David Johnston successfully won his action against the police (click on his name for a link to that story), we had to go to court to seek the right to pursue his claim under the Mental Health Act, and to disapply the limitation date. This raised a number of interesting legal issues which are detailed in the official judgment Johnston -v- CCMP 2009 (click on the link).

David Johnston, a 38 year old man with a history of mental illness that includes schizophrenia, was informed on November 20th 2009 that he could pursue his right to seek compensation in his claim against the police, despite Merseyside Police’s attempt to prevent him from doing so under the Mental Health Act (1983).

Mr. Justice Coulson was presented with the appeal at Manchester Civil Justice Centre on November 20th 2009 and stated that he felt that Mr. Johnston’s police injury claim had a “real prospect of success”. This prevented the police’s attempt to stop Mr. Johnson from pursuing his claim on the grounds of his mental illness; that any person registered under the Mental Health Act is unable to undertake and pursue their own case.

The Judge applied long- established principles when dealing with the police’s arguments. He rightly saw through them and ensured that my client, who had suffered enough already, would get his day in court.

I felt at the time that this was an important case because it raised real concerns as to the actions of the police officers on the night of the police assault and the adequacy of training in the use of CS gas. After this preliminary hearing and a subsequent four day trial, our decision to fight was justified when David Johnston won his case against Merseyside Police.

Press coverage of the hearing in this claim against the police

The Liverpool Echo reported on the case, which was also published by Baillii, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute.

Due to the legal importance of this case, it was also covered by Mental Health Law Online, an internet resource on mental health law.

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