HOME > Case Studies >

Background

Miss Kayleigh Littlemore, Solicitor within Irvings Law’s Action Against Police Team, has successfully represented Mr. Townley in bringing action against Gwent Police for False Imprisonment and Assault in relation to an incident whereby he was wrongfully arrested and detained in relation to an apparent offence which had occurred over seven month earlier.

The Case

In the early morning of 6th October 2020, multiple Gwent Police officers began banging on Mr Townleys door, advising that if he did not answer; they would break it down. Once Mr Townley had opened the door, and without so much as giving him the opportunity to explain his account, the officers immediately arrested him on suspicion of controlling and coercive behaviour, harassment, criminal damage and theft against his ex-partner. Mr Townley tried to explain to the officers that his ex-partner had made numerous false allegations against him previously, which all led to him being arrested and no further action taken. He was fed up of these malicious allegations constantly leading to him being arrested and so asked the officers to consider this and check his background before detaining him. Unfortunately, the officers refused to listen to Mr Townley and consider whether this was a malicious allegation and he was subsequently taken into custody. Mr Townley was detained at the police station for 12 hours and 9 minutes before being released on bail. He was later, again, no further actioned.

Whilst in custody, during his police interview, it came to light that the alleged offence in question had apparently occurred over seven months before the officers even tried to arrest Mr Townley. This led to him questioning, why, if the officers genuinely believed it was necessary to arrest him to protect other people from harm, did they not arrest him sooner?

Representation

Shortly after being released, Mr Townley approached Irving’s Law for assistance with bringing an action about how he was treated. After considering Mr Townley’ s instructions, Miss Littlemore recognised that Mr Townley did not even live with his ex-partner, and so legally, could not have possibility committed the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour given that, for the offence to be made out, the law requires the offender to live with the complainant. Further, Miss Littlemore recognised that for an arrest to be lawful, it must have been necessary to arrest the suspect. In this scenario, it was irrational to suggest that it was necessary to arrest Mr Townley for an offence that had occurred over seven months before. Surely if it was necessary; he would have been arrested immediately. As such, Miss Littlemore acknowledged that what had happened to him was wrong and agreed to act for him on “no win, no fee” terms.

Miss Littlemore was then quick to request and obtain all available evidence from the police in order to conduct an analysis on the strength of the case. Following this, Miss Littlemore was satisfied that the conduct of the police in this instance amounted to false imprisonment on the basis that the arrest was unlawful. Given that the arrest was unlawful, she also believed that the application of force to Mr Townley, specifically

handcuffing him, would amount to an assault. After this, Miss Littlemore submitted a detailed letter of claim to Gwent Police alleging the above.

Resolution

After Gwent Police received the letter of claim, they swiftly decided that they wanted to settle the case. They made Mr Townley an offer and agreed to pay him compensation plus the payment of his legal costs.

Author: Kayleigh Littlemore