Donoghue Solicitors Win £9000 Compensation for Local Lawyer

Tue, December 15th, 2015

Donoghue Solicitors help local solicitor win compensation after unlawful arrest.

Kevin Donoghue, Solicitor Director of Liverpool-based Donoghue Solicitors, helped a high-profile Liverpool solicitor win a five-year battle to clear his name after being unlawfully arrested by Merseyside Police.

James Parry, a Director at Page Moss firm Parry Welch Lacey LLP, will receive £9,000 compensation and full legal costs after a Judge found that police wrongfully arrested the solicitor when he voluntarily attended Birkenhead Police Station for an interview.

Police Investigation and Arrest

In September 2010 Mr Parry's solicitor arranged for his client to meet police for a voluntary interview in respect of a theft allegation made by a former business partner.

Mr Parry was confident that the allegation was unfounded and was happy to co-operate. But it was important to him that he was not arrested because the serious nature of the charges questioned his honesty. Mr Parry was worried about the impact an arrest would have on his professional reputation. Also solicitors, like teachers and doctors, are under strict duties to report an arrest to their regulators and insurers. As well as the extra paperwork, consequences can include formal interviews, disciplinary sanctions, increased insurance premiums, and potential loss of employment. 

When the solicitor of 21 years arrived at the police station he was immediately arrested, despite his lawyer's protests.

He was interviewed and released over five hours later. No charges were brought and the police later confirmed that no further action would be taken.

Civil Action Against the Police

Mr Parry instructed Kevin Donoghue, a solicitor who specialises in civil actions against the police, to bring a compensation claim for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention. Donoghue Solicitors represented Mr Parry on a "no win no fee" basis.

Merseyside Police denied liability to trial.The case was heard at Liverpool County Court before HHJ Parker on 7/8 September 2015.

Kevin Donoghue said, “The Court was asked one central question: was it necessary for DC Cadden to arrest Mr Parry? If not, my client would be entitled to compensation for his unlawful arrest, distress, and humiliation, which were heightened because his arrest was widely reported in the press and well-known in legal circles.”

Explaining the law, Mr Donoghue said “Code G of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) requires a police officer to only exercise the power of arrest if the officer has reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to arrest the person.

Grounds include ‘to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence or of the conduct of the person in question’ and ‘to enter and search without a search warrant any premises occupied or controlled by the arrested person…’ in the case of indictable (serious) offences.”

After hearing two days of evidence, HHJ Parker gave his judgment on Thursday 10 December. He found that Mr Parry was deliberately misled by the arresting officer and had been unlawfully arrested.

Mr Donoghue said he was shocked to hear the arresting officer say that it is his “tactic not to tell” people who attend for a voluntary interview that they would be arrested on arrival.

“The arresting officer said he felt this ‘tactic’ was ‘not misleading’. I don’t know how it could be interpreted any other way,” the solicitor said.

Mr Donoghue reported that his client was “satisfied” with the Court’s ruling, but added that he was a reluctant litigant.

“What happened to James was a nightmare scenario for a solicitor” he said. “His reputation and good name were greatly harmed by the police officer's unnecessary act. He had no option but to fight for justice, which, by coincidence, was achieved on Human Rights Day, 10 December.”

He continued, “Despite his relief, James is disappointed that Merseyside Police chose to prolong matters by fighting his legitimate claim all the way to trial. They could, and should, have accepted wrongdoing much earlier.”

After negotiations conducted by Kevin Donoghue, Mr Parry accepted £9,000 compensation plus his full legal costs.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “Merseyside Police notes the decision of the court and will abide by its ruling.

“The force carefully considered this civil action and it was thoroughly examined by our legal department who also sought external legal advice.

“As a result it was decided that it was appropriate to defend the claim and test the facts in court.”

 

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