Case Court, Court of Appeal. 21st March 2014

Case Name and Citation

Walker and
the Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis (2014) EWCA  Civ 897

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Court
Court of Appeal:
Civil Division

Central
London Civil Justice Centre

Judges

Court of Appeal – (Civil
Division)

Lord Justice
Rimer

Lord Justice
Tomlinson

Sir Bernard
Rix LJ

Parties

Appellant      – Walker        

Respondent –
The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis

Courts and Hearing Date

Camberwell
Green Magistrates Court, Central London County Court, Court of Appeal.

21st
March 2014

Material Facts

·        
On
12th July the claimant Mr. Walker got into a fight with the police
in Rita Road London, following a complaint that he hit his partner Mrs. Cadice
Lecky.

·        
Later
he was charged of assault of police officer and detained for 7 hours before released
on bail. The custody record showed that Mr. Walker was arrested for “affray, assault
police officer”.

·        
On
23rd of September 2008 charged and detained, Walker stood trial on
20-21 April 2009 in the Camberwell Green Magistrates and found innocent on
basis of his initial detention had been unlawful under the given situation
because the district judge found that the police officer concerned, PC Adams,
had restricted Mr. Walker’s movements in a doorway without purporting to arrest
him.

·        
On
11th February 2011 a letter of claim was written by walkers’ lawyers
and his claim was issues on 2nd July, in it he claimed damages for
false imprisonment, assault, and malicious prosecution.

The trail of the civil claim took place before a judge, His Honour
Judge Freeland QC, in the Central London County Court, between 1–5 July 2013
and a detailed judgment was given 1 August 2013. Mr. Walkers claim failed
totally and judge accepted police evidence over the appellant’s evidence.
Because the police evidence was more credible and straightforward than the
evidence backed up by walker’s mother. Furthermore, police evidence was backed
by the neighbor Mr. Buckmaster and also some of the walker’s mothers evidence
was detracted her son’s case.

On these
reasoning’s County Court Judge dismissed the appellant’s claim.

Mr. Walkers Mothers Evidence

ü  Mr. Walkers evidence was supported by
of his mothers.

Police Evidence

ü  PC Adams said that on arrival at the
scene that he heard Ms. Lecky say that Mr. Walker had punched her, He
contemplated that he had enough reasons to arrest MR Walker. PC Cracknell and
PC Barton both confirmed the PC Adams Claim.

ü  Despite the fact that he had enough
reasoning for arrest he decided to make some enquiries to avoid an arrest.

ü  Mr. Walker was in a door way and PC
Adams cornered him to prevent him getting past, His first words were “Calm down
mate or you will end up getting arrested” and he made sure that appellant was
not free to move.  

ü  The appellant was shouting in an
aggressive manner and firmly pushed PC Adams in the chest, at that point PC
Adams decided to arrest him for “public order”. He had no time to add the
section of the Public Order Act 1986 because at that time Mr. Walker started a
fight.

ü  PC Adams was bitten by Mr. Walker on
his forearm and finger.

ü  PC Adams evidence was supported by PC
Cracknell and PC Barton and Mr. Walker’s neighbor, Ms. Buckmaster who was a
witness.

 

 

·        
Considering
those facts judge decided to dismiss the civil claim. He was convinced that PC
Adams evidence was more reliable and honest and also that PC Adams acted that
way to prevent more harm being caused and to stop appellant from escaping the
scene. It was clear that cornering at the door was not to arrest but to enquire
on the case.                                                                     

·        
Even
though the critical findings were in favor of the police the judge accepted and
awarded Mr. Walker that he is entitled for a nominal of 5 pounds as damages for
brief and “technical” imprisonment immediately before his own initial arrest, in
basis of false imprisonment.

 

Questions of Law/Issues

·        
Was
Mr. Walker`s initial detention in the doorway unlawful, thus amounting to false
imprisonment?

·        
If
so, was Mr. Walker`s reaction to that detention a reasonable and proportionate
exercise in self-defense?

·        
Was
the purported arrest for “public order” a valid arrest within section 28(3) of
PACE?

Decision/Judgment

Lord Justice Rix stated that Mr. Walkers appeal would
be allowed on the first issue, and dismissed on issues two and three. And he
would receive a nominal of £5.

Lord Justice
Tomilinson and Rimer agreed unanimously.

 

Detailed reasons for the decision

Lord justice Rix judgment was that apart from the
above mentioned facts of the incident had been mentioned in appellants claim.
He went over the evidence before the county court judge. Furthermore, PC Adams
cornering Mr. Walker was unlawful and accepted that appellant is entitled for
damages to the brief and “technical” imprisonment, before his unlawful and
violent behavior before his arrest.

It was
accepted by the defense that this behavior of Mr. Walker resulted in the
detention, appellant argues that on the factors his initial detention before
the arrest was unlawful and made him use considerable force to get him out of
the situation prior to the arrest.

Furthermore,
Lord Justice saw that initial detention at the doorway wasn’t to arrest him but
to inquire about the scene at the relevant time. Court accepted that the
appellant’s imprisonment as a technical detention even though it lasted for
some time.

The last
issue, was the purported arrest for “public order” a valid arrest within the section
28(3) of PACE? LJ Rix identified that PC Adams had it in mind but could not finish
what he was going to say and also judge identified that Mr. Walker was given
enough reasons for his arrest prior to the actual arrest being performed.

On
conclusion Lord Justice Rix stated that he would have awarded 1400 for assault
if proven and also 2000 for the imprisonment of 7 hours which followed. Due to
the fact that appellant couldn’t prove his claim he was only awarded with 5 for
the damages.

Lord Justice Tomlinson agreed and added few points to the
judgement, that Mr. Walkers conduct attracts no sympathy but that is of course
often the way when a fundamental principle is at stake. The previous judge’s
decision of 5 being an appropriate figure was considered generous to the
appellant by him.

Furthermore,
LJ Tomlinson stated that The Court would order that appellant should recover
25% of his costs of appeal.

Lord Justice Rimer Agreed with both judgements

Evidence Presented

Witness
statement of PC Adams

Evidence by Mr.
Walkers mother and a neighbor that was an eye witness, Ms. Buckmaster

Evidence by
PC Barton and PC Cracknell

RATIO DECIDENDI