Mistaken Identity Subjects Women To Being Strip-Searched
Facts: Assault; False Imprisonment; Strip Search; Personal Search; Distress and Humiliation
GP was driving home when an unmarked police vehicle indicated for her to pull over. Police officers informed GP that she was the subject of an arrest warrant for outstanding charges. GP had no knowledge of the alleged criminal activity, and made attempts to explain this to the police.
GP was then subjected to a personal search on the side of the road, despite her requests to be transported to a police station to avoid being searched in public. Police ignored these requests. Immediate family members of GP witnessed the incident as they drove past, which was extremely distressing and humiliating for GP.
GP was then strip-searched inside the caged police vehicle. After this, GP was then conveyed to the local police station, strip-searched for a second time and held in police custody for several hours. GP was charged with several offences and released.
Shortly afterwards, GP contacted police to inform them that she was not responsible for the offences with which she had been charged. Upon reviewing CCTV footage from the incident, police became aware that they had arrested and charged the wrong individual. Furthermore, the police did not provide any clarification as to whether or not charges would be pursued against GP. GP was forced to attend court in order to discover that the charges had been dismissed.
Outcome: Sue Police and awarded exemplary damages and aggravated damages
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors claimed that GP had been unlawfully imprisoned and assaulted and that the police misidentification had caused her shock, distress and humiliation. GP received compensation through a successful ex-gratia application to the NSW police.