CASE NAME AND CITATIONWalker v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: 2014 EWCA Civ 897; 2014 WLR (D) 289COURTS AND JUDGESIN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)ON APPEAL FROM CENTRAL LONDON CIVIL JUSTICE CENTRELORD JUSTICE RIMER,LORD JUSTICE TOMLINSON,SIR BERNARD RIX.
PARTIESAppellant: WalkerRespondents: The Commissioner of the Police of the MetropolisMATIERIAL FACTSThe Claimant got into fight with his girlfriend and when the police arrived, the girlfriend told them that the claimanthad hit her. After few minutes, the claimant was taken into the police station with the handcuffs. And he wascharged with assaulting PC Adams in the execution of his duty. He was released on reasons of his imprisonment hadbeen unlawful. It was found that a police officer had restricted his movements in a doorway, without intending toarrest him. It was detaining him unlawfully not reasonable.After two years He claimed damages for false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution.
But the circuitjudge rejected Mr. Walker’s evidence and the claim failed totally. He appealed to the Court of Appeal.Mr. Walker’s Evidence:After argument with the Mr.
Walker’s girlfriend and the arrival of the Police, PC Adams approached in aconfrontational and aggressive manner. He refused to talk with the officer and he was blocked in thedoorway by PC Adams when he asked him to leave him alone. He had attacked PC Adams, without sayinganything about arrest him. PC Adams punished him and PC Cracknell join in. He was carried to the Police van.He denied threating to ‘bang’ the officer, or pushing him in the chest.Mr.
Walker’s Mother Evidence:Mr. Walker’s evidence supported by that of him mother. She heard that PC Adams say “calm down mate oryou will end up getting arrested and the word “Arrest being used”.Police Evidence:PC Adams gave evidence in accordance with a witness statements. He said that on arrival at the scene heheard Ms Lecky say that Mr. Walker had punished her.
He considered that he had reasonable grounds tosuspect Mr Walker. But he decided to make some inquires before arrest him. His witness statement said that”I did not touch the claimant but I made it very clear to him that he was not free to move”. Mr Walkerthreatened to “bang” PC Adam, so arrested him under “Police Order”. PC Adams did not have time to addsection 5, which was had PC Adam’s mind. PC Adams evidence was supported by PC Cracknell and PC Barton,and that neighbour witness Ms. Buckmaster.QUESTIONS OF LAW / ISSUES(I) Was Mr Walker’s initial detention in the doorway unlawful, thus amounting to false imprisonment?(ii) If so, was Mr Walker’s reaction to that detention a reasonable and proportionate exercise in self-defence?(iii) Was the purported arrest for “public order” a valid arrest within section 28(3) of PACE?DECISIONA circuit judge rejected his evidence and the claim failed totally.
He appealed to the Court of Appeal.DETAILED REASONINGIt was a common ground that PC Adams detained Mr. Walker in the narrow area of the doorway but he was notarrested. Lord Justice Rix said that the judge accepted that, there was an detention, but he distinguishes it as short,trivial and technical, amounting to a few seconds, there was no good reason for the judge’s conclusion that thedetention had fallen within ‘generally acceptable standards of the conduct of ordinary citizens’ so as to render itlawful. Lord Justice Rix said that “it is not acceptable for an ordinary citizen to interfere with a person’s liberty byconfining him or her in a doorway.”The judge heard the eyewitnesses and said that he would not be ready to reverse the verdict of the Court of Appeal.
His conduct on the acquittal was grave and disproportionate.The final issue was whether the purported arrest for “public order” was a valid arrest within section 28(3) of PACE.This issue was occurred at first instance. The police officers’ general credibility was attacked, but it justified by thejudge. In the particular circumstances of this case the Claimant must have been fully aware that he was beingarrested and it was regarded as being a public order offence. Rix LJ did not think that a particular legal label of aparticular offense mattered so much if the arrested person aware that he was being arrested for the conduct he hadimmediately carried out, especially in the face of the arrest officer, and after the warnings that such conduct couldlead to his arrest.
The Claimant’s appeal would be allowed on the first issue, and dismissed on the second and third. That meant hewould receive a nominal amount of £5.Lord Justice Tomlinson and Rimer agreedThe court would order that the Claimant should recover 25% of the costs of the appeal.