Offender receives compensation for excessive force used when he attempted to escape custody
Suspect apprehended using excessive force
Casey* stood by his car at a local takeaway restaurant when police approached him and told him he was on their system for offences relating to drugs and child abuse material. They asked to search his car and person, and Casey consented. During the search, police found Casey’s phone with ‘greyed out’ photo albums. Police asked Casey to make these accessible and he complied. In the folders, police found images of child abuse material.
Police told Casey they were taking him to the police station. Casey asked to pack up some belongings, and then attempted to run from police. Once he reached a fence, Casey stopped running and police tackled him. During the tackle, Casey struck his head hard on the ground. He told police he felt unwell and vomited. Casey tried to roll on his side, but police stopped him. One of the officers then hit Casey several times on the torso and face. They arrested Casey and placed him into a police wagon. In the custody cage, he began losing consciousness and police called an ambulance.
Police charge our client with escape police custody
Later Police charged Casey with:
- Resist police officer in the execution of duty under s 58 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW);
- Escape police custody under common law; and
- Failure to comply with reporting obligations under s 17(1) of the Child Protection (Offenders Registration Act) 2000 (NSW).
Casey pleaded guilty to the charge of escape lawful custody. The charge of resist arrest was not proven in court, and police withdrew the charge of failure to comply with reporting obligations.
Lawyers sue for excessive force and malicious prosecution
Casey approached O’Brien Solicitors to sue the State of NSW for compensation for assault, battery, and malicious prosecution.
O’Brien Solicitors argued that the force used once Casey stopped running was not reasonably necessary to arrest Casey. This contravened s 230 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW) (‘LEPRA’). Also, the force was not reasonably necessary to effect arrest or prevent Casey’s escape. This contravened s 231 of LEPRA. By breaching the provisions of LEPRA, the officers committed assault and battery against Casey.
O’Brien Solicitors also pursued damages for malicious prosecution. We argued that the charge for resisting a police officer in execution of their duty was initiated and maintained despite clear absence of reasonable and probable cause. Also Police initiated and maintained it with malice.
Compensation to cover damages and legal fees
O’Brien Solicitors negotiated a settlement of damages with the State of NSW, with Casey receiving a fair sum of compensation and costs for legal fees.
*We change names to protect the identity of our clients.
Do you want to sue the police for assault, battery, excessive force or malicious prosecution? If so, contact O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281. We can set up a free appointment with the civil lawyers in our Sydney office.