Sylvester and Browne Lawyers are proud to announce the settlement of a civil compensation (Tort) claim by the NSW Police in favour of our client. The numerous claims in tort related to the actions of two NSW Highway Patrol officers in detaining and later charging our client with a number of criminal offences in 2011.
The client was driving to pick up his son from Tae Kwon Do lessons at Cronulla in Sydney's south when he was stopped by Highway Patrol Police who suspected that he had tried to avoid a random breath testing site further down the road. When the client stepped from his vehicle to speak to officer, he was arrested, handcuffed and placed face down on the roadway for approximately 15 minutes in front of both his young son and daughter. During this time, other young Tae Kwon Do class participants and their families have walked past the client whilst handcuffed. In our view, it should have been obvious to the overzealous officers involved that our client was in fact picking up his son from the Tae Kwon Do class. This is backed up by the Police in-car-video footage which clearly shows the client pointing out of the driver's side window towards a group of boys dressed in Tae Kwon Do outfits. This appears to have been dismissed by the officers involved.
For some unknown reason, one of the officers has requested the attendance of a drug detection dog to conduct a search the client's car. No drugs were found. The client was then breath tested which proved negative. Perhaps fearing that they may have overstepped their authority, our client was then issued with court attendance notices for Assault Police and Resist Arrest. These charges were eventually withdrawn by Police Prosecutions some 5 months later without any apology or acknowledgement regarding the alleged wrongdoing of the officers involved.
In August 2013, the NSW Police agreed on confidential terms to settle the matter out of court.
Discussing the case generally, Principal Lawyer David Sylvester said, "It is unfortunate fact that sometimes Police abuse their powers during the execution of their duty. As a result, the victims of this abuse often suffer ongoing trauma associated with the incident. In many cases, the anger and hurt suffered by the aggrieved person tends to be exacerbated by the failure of the Police to apologise or accept responsibility for their actions."
Whilst the client is happy that the claim has been settled, he remains angered by the actions of the subject Highway Patrol officers. He is hopeful that this settlement will result in appropriate sanction for the officers and further training for Police generally so that tortious actions such as these can be avoided in the future.