David Phillips & Partners Solicitors

David Phillips & Partners Solicitors

December 01, 2009 11:53 ET

David Phillips & Partners Solicitors: Police Tactics Fail to Prevent Mentally Ill Man Pursuing his Claim in Court

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 1, 2009) - A man with mental health problems has won his right to pursue a compensation claim against Merseyside Police, after being sprayed in the face with CS gas by a police officer.

David Johnston, a 38 year old man with a history of mental illness that includes schizophrenia, was informed on November 20th 2009 that he could pursue his right to seek compensation, despite Merseyside Police's attempt to prevent him from doing so under the Mental Health Act (1983).

On the 8th January 2006 Mr. Johnston was visiting a friend when he realised that he was in need of urgent medical assistance. An ambulance was called and despatched but in accordance with standard practice the police were also alerted. It is alleged that when the police arrived one officer, PC Court, sprayed up to half a can of CS gas, which resulted in blistering on Mr Johnston's face, neck and chest area.

Mr Johnston was then handcuffed, taken to hospital and detained by the police but subsequently not charged with any criminal offence.

Mr. Justice Coulson was presented with the appeal at Manchester Civil Justice Centre on November 20th 2009 and stated that he felt that Mr. Johnston's case had a "real prospect of success". This prevented the police's attempt to stop Mr. Johnson from pursuing his claim on the grounds of his mental illness; that any person registered under the Mental Health Act is unable to undertake and pursue their own case.

David Johnston's solicitor, Iain Gould of David Phillips & Partners Solicitors, said "Mr. Justice Coulson applied long- established principles when dealing with the police's arguments. He rightly saw through them and ensured that my client, who has suffered enough already, will get his day in court."

He continues that, "this is also an important case because it raises real concerns as to the actions of the police officers that night and the adequacy of training in the use of CS gas."

Iain Gould, who specialises in actions against the police, says that he will now continue to prepare Mr. Johnston's case for jury trial, which is expected to be heard in late 2010.

About David Phillips & Partners Solicitors:

  • Offices throughout the UK including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
  • Regulated by Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA Ref#: 73353).
  • Founded in 1982 and has over 25 years legal experience in the following specialised areas; criminal defence, accident claims, actions against the police, property conveyancing, wills and probate, matters involving children, motoring offences and prison law.

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