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Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

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Our Police Cases

We have been involved in many of the most serious and successful cases for victims of police misconduct. We have experience of handling a breadth of cases from stop and search matters to cases resulting in catastrophic injury. We have taken a number of successful challenges with the aim of improving accountability for police malpractice. Some of our key successes are set out below.

BXH, AXH & CXH v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis & The Crown Prosecution Service, High Court, December 2008
In which very substantial damages, apologies and a raft of alternative dispute resolution measures were agreed with the defendants shortly before trial. The claim included a novel claim under the Human Rights Act in respect of an alleged violation of the claimants' rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of a failure to protect the anonymity of a child witness in criminal proceedings such that the child, his mother and her partner were forced to relocate under a witness protection scheme. The claim against the police was also advanced in negligence. The compromise included damages in respect of psychiatric injury, loss of earnings and disruption to the clients' lives.

Anonymous v The Chief Constable and another, High Court, April 2007
Very substantial damages and an apology have been agreed in respect of the repeated sexual assault of a young girl by a police officer and her professional carers. Damages were sought in respect of the negligent investigation by the police of the victim's allegations. The police and the relevant local authority have made a payment of compensation and provided an acknowledgement of the sufering our client endured.

Anonymous v The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire, High Court, April 2006
Very substantial damages and apology were agreed in the Sheffield High Court in respect of the assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution of the claimant arising from an unlawful and racially motivated stop and search. The case raised novel and complex issues of causation in respect of the psychiatric illness developed by the claimant after these events and the level of damages achieved together with the apology, reflected acceptance on the part of the Chief Constable that his officers’ actions had caused the claimant severe mental health problems.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner v Christine Hurst, CA 2005
An important case concerning retrospectivity under the Human Rights Act. We successfully argued that section 3 of the Human Rights Act (on interpreting Acts of Parliament to comply with Convention rights) should operate to ensure a Convention compliant inquest concerning systemic contributors to the death albeit that the death had occurred before the Act came into force. Re McKerr distinguished. The case itself concerns failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and others to take steps to protect the deceased who was at risk from a third party.

E, H and A v Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire 2005
Substantial damages achieved arising from the rape and/or indecent assault of three women by a custody officer – two of the incidents taking place in the custody suite for which the officer had responsibility – including claims in respect of the collusion of other officers in failing to prevent this officer’s crimes and their subsequent attempt to cover up those crimes.

R (Coghlan and others) v Greater Manchester Police 2004
Judicial Review of the failure to prevent the retirement of a senior police officer notwithstanding judicial conclusion that he had lied on oath. The Court recognised the public interest in permitting the complaints process to proceed. An important test case with regard to the ambit of Chief Officer’s discretion in this area.

R (Anderson and others) v HM Coroner 2004
Re Roger Sylvester, dec’d. Representation of family in contesting police officers' challenge to inquest verdict of unlawful killing in relation to the restraint related death of Roger Sylvester in the custody of the Metropolitan Police.

Bark and others v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis 2004
Settlement achieved at £91,000 together with admissions of liability in respect of false imprisonment, and breaches of Articles 5, 10 & 11. This was a claim brought for Bark and others following widespread arrests by the police for anticipated breach of the peace by anti-monarchists on the Jubilee weekend.

C v Metropolitan Police Commissioner, London Boroughs of Haringey, Brent & Ealing, and Central Middlesex & North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trusts 2003
Substantial settlement achieved in respect of the death of child aged 8 years at the hands of her carers in circumstances indicating gross neglect of duty on the part of the Defendants.

Re W (a child) 2003
CICA award of £672,029 on behalf of a child victim of a booby-trapped incendiary device planted in a children’s playground by a then serving soldier of the British Army.

Kerr and others v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 2003
Settlement achieved at £182,000 in a claim for damages including aggravated and exemplary damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution by Metropolitan police officers.

Warren v Chief Constable of Essex
Settlement achieved at £25,000 in a claim for damages including aggravated and exemplary damages for misfeasance in public office involving the use of agent provocateurs by police officers to entrap a vulnerable drug user.

B v Sunderland City Council & Priority Healthcare Wearside NHS Trust 2003
Settlement achieved at £25,000 in a claim for damages arising out of the death of a mental patient in the care of the Defendants.

R (IH) v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 2003
Successful Article 2 challenge to refusal of the Metropolitan Police to disclose report of previous investigation into allegations of police collusion in this murder of a member of the public on behalf of his business partner in 1997.

Re Roger Sylvester, dec’d 2003
Inquest verdict of unlawful killing arising from the restraint related death in custody of the Metropolitan Police – highlighting yet again the dangers of positional/restraint asphyxia and the use of restraint on mentally ill members of the public.

Re W and Metropolitan Police 2003
Complaint concerning police handling of a serious assault in the context of domestic violence invoking Article 3 considerations and alleging systemic and institutionalised failures, leading to the appointment of Surrey Police to investigate the complaint under the supervision of the PCA, and disciplinary action against relevant officers.

O’Brien (3) v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 2003
Settlement achieved at £324,000 in respect of the unlawful killing of Richard O’Brien in the custody of the Metropolitan Police.

Barry v Dr Heath and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis 2003
Settlement achieved at £836,000 in respect of a complex case involving a detainee who was arrested for being drunk and incapable and subsequently found to have sustained neurological injury. The claimant had no clear memory of events but liability was established against the police doctor who had neglected to adequately assess him.

Russell and others v The Home Office 2001
The “Whitemoor escape” litigation. Judge’s finding of Article 3 violation. Successful civil claim for damages on behalf of two men who suffered brutal assaults by prison officers outside Whitemoor Special Secure Unit

N v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 2001
Settlement achieved at £40,000 in a claim for damages arising from a lengthy detention under the Prevention of Terrorism of Act, including a claim in respect of a serious breach of Article 3.

L v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 2001
Settlement achieved at £42,500 in respect of a detention under the Prevention of Terrorism of Act.

Sey v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 2001
Settlement achieved at £45,000 in a claim for damages arising out of the unlawful killing of Ibrahima Sey in custody.

Palmer v Home Office 2001
Settlement achieved at £50,000 in a claim for damages arising out of the death of Dennis Stevens in custody.

Re Alton Manning, dec’d 2001
Formal complaint alleging gross neglect of duty in conduct of investigation by West Mercia Police into unlawful killing of Alton Manning in custody (see below) leading to appointment of Staffordshire Police to investigate complaint under supervision of PCA – findings include serious systemic failures in approach to and handling of the case.

R v DPP ex parte Manning 2000
Successful challenge to refusal of new DPP to prosecute prison officers involved in unlawful killing of Alton Manning in custody – ground breaking judgement by the LCJ anticipating the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998.

L v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Settlement achieved at £64,000 in respect of a claim for damages arising from a detention under the Prevention of Terrorism of Act, including a claim in respect of malicious procurement of a search warrant.

D v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police 1999
Settlement achieved at £66,000 in respect of a claim for damages arising from detention under the Prevention of Terrorism of Act and applying a novel point of law concerning malicious procurement of a search warrant in this context.

R v Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police ex parte Rahman 1999
Successful challenge to legality of ‘warning’ administered by Wiltshire Police to the Applicant having been called to his restaurant for assistance in face of assault involving racist abuse.

Lapite v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1999
Settlement achieved at £15,000 in claim for damages arising out of unlawful killing of Oluwashijibomi Lapite (see below).

C and others v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1999
Settlement achieved at £95,000 with apology and admission of liability in respect of a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Re Alton Manning, dec’d 1998
Inquest verdict of unlawful killing in respect of a restraint related death in custody of HMP Blakenhurst - highlighted yet again the dangers inherent in the use of neckholds.

H v The Commissioner 1998
Settlement achieved at £90,000 in respect of assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

The Commissioner v Scafe 1998
Having represented the claimant before the jury in her successful civil trial against the police (the jury awarded the claimant £110,000), we represented the claimant in achieving a compromise of her damages through mediation.

The Commissioner v Gerald 1998
A senior Court of Appeal including the Master of the Rolls considered the application of the new guidelines issued in the Thompson case. We represented the claimant at the first instance trial (when the jury awarded him £125,000) and before the Court of Appeal which reduced his damages to £50,000.

Jozana v The Commissioner, Doctor Gupta and Doctor Dattani 1998
Settlement achieved at £100,000 in a claimconcerning the duty of care to a young mentally ill man in custody.

Elsworth v The Commissioner 1998
Settlement achieved at £90,000 in a claim for assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

R v DPP ex parte Ilett and Others 1998
We successfully intervened as an interested party to oppose an application by police officers that their trial for the manslaughter of Richard O’Brien was an abuse of process.

R v Kidderminster Coroner and Alberta Cameron ex parte UKDS and Home Office 1998
Successful resistance to challenge mounted by the private company (UKDS) running HMP Blakenhurst and the Home Office against the decision of HM Coroner to leave unlawful killing as a verdict for the inquest jury to consider in connection with the death of Alton Manning.

L and E v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1998
Settlement achieved at £36,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Re David Charles and others 1998
Metropolitan Police officers required to resign by way of disciplinary action. Re-opening of complaint investigation and consequent disciplinary charges leading to the findings of guilt against seven officers and the departure of three others from the service (willingly or otherwise).

R v DPP and PCA ex parte Lapite 1997
R v DPP ex parte O’Brien
R v DPP ex parte Treadaway

Successful challenges to refusal of DPP and PCA to prosecute or discipline police officers involved in the unlawful killings of Oluwashijibomi Lapite and Richard O’Brien, and the torture of Derek Treadaway - the first instance of a successful challenge to the exercise of the DPP’s prosecutorial discretion, resulting in a judicial inquiry and, at least in part, the decision of the then DPP to resign.

The Commissioner v Thompson 1997, Court of Appeal
This is the leading authority concerning the assessment of damages in police actions. For the first time the Master of the Rolls issued guidelines to juries to assist in the assessment of damages in police cases. We had represented Ms Thompson at first instance and successfully defended the jury’s award to her of £51,500.

Re Ibrahima Sey, dec’d 1997
Inquest verdict of unlawful killing concerning a restraint related death in the custody of the Metropolitan Police which highlighted the dangers of positional/restraint asphyxia and CS spray.

C v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1997
Settlement achieved at £37,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Re Oluwashijibomi Lapite, dec’d 1996
Inquest verdict of unlawful killing concerning the restraint related death in the custody of the Metropolitan Police - highlighted yet again the dangers inherent in the use of neckholds.

Re Richard O’Brien, dec’d 1995
Inquest verdict of unlawful killing concerning the restraint related death in the custody of the Metropolitan Police - highlighted the dangers inherent in the use of prone restraint.

Williams v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1996
Settlement achieved at £25,000 in a claim for damages for assault and false imprisonment.

R v Treadaway 1996
Successful appeal against convictions following Home Secretary’s reference of case to Court of Appeal in the wake of judgement in civil trial (see below).

Brownbill v The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Jury award of £150,000 in respect of assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. This was one of a series of high jury awards in this year (including the cases of Thompson, Scafe and Gerald each of which were handled by Bhatt Murphy lawyers). The cases sparked a public debate which contributed to the establishment of an independent framework for the investigation of police complaints.

Pryce v Cleveland Police 1995
Settlement achieved at £68,000 together with an admission of liability in respect of a claim for damages arising out of unlawful killing of Oliver Pryce in custody of Cleveland Police in restraint related incident.

Hoffman v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1995
Settlement achieved at £25,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution arising out of arrest of journalist arrested while acting in the course of his professional duties covering a public order situation - supported by NUJ.

W and M v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1995
Settlement achieved at £35,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

O v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1995
Settlement achieved at £76,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution - instrumental, together with King (see below) in uncovering the ‘Operation Jackpot’ scandal of corruption amongst police officers at Stoke Newington.

Stephenson v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1994
Settlement achieved at £25,000in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Glenister and another v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1994
Settlement achieved at £25,000in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Gillan and others v City of London Police 1994
Settlement achieved at £40,000 in a claim for damages for assault and false imprisonment.

Treadaway v West Midlands Police 1994
£50,000 award by judge (McKinnon J) in respect of a claim for damages for assault arising out torture of prisoner to extract confession - first ever award of its kind.

King v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1994
Settlement acheived at £70,000in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution - first ever settlement of its kind to breach a perceived ‘glass ceiling’ of £50,000 in such cases, and instrumental in uncovering the ‘Operation Jackpot’ scandal of corruption amongst police officers at Stoke Newington.

Scott and others v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1994
Settlement achieved at £35,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Hanney v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1994
Settlement achieved at £30,000in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Stanley Dixon v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1993
Settlement achieved at £22,500 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Racz v Home Office 1993
House of Lords – establishing the principle of vicarious liability of the Home Office for misfeasance in public office on the part of prison officers for the first time.

Burke v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1992
£50,000 jury award in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution on behalf of black pensioner aged 70.

Barry and another v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1992
£59,000 jury award in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Critchlow v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1992
Settlement achieved at £50,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution on behalf of community leader and founder of the Mangrove in Notting Hill.

Janardanan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1991
Settlement achieved at £40,000 in a claim for damages for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution - first such case to establish jurisdiction of County Court to allow statements in open court upon settlement.

Burnett v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1991
Settlement achieved at £40,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution - first such case to establish jurisdiction of High Court to extend statements in open court upon settlement to assault claims.

Critchlow and others v Sth Yorks Police 1991
Settlement achieved at £425,000 in a claim for damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution on behalf of 39 miners arising out of police operation at Orgreave during miners’ strike - first multi-party action in such litigation - supported by the National Union of Miners.

Rose v Metropolitan Police Commissioner 1990
Settlement achieved at £130,000 in a claim for damages arising out of unlawful killing of Winston Rose in the custody of the Metropolitan Police in a restraint related incident.
You will find downloads and links to judgments, policy documents and backgound information concerning our police cases on our police misconduct and deaths in custody timelines.