April 19, 2012 01:00 ET

Merseyside Civil Servant Awarded Compensation from Police After They Admit Unlawful Arrest, Detention and Assault.

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 19, 2012) - A Wirral, U.K. man will receive £12000 compensation from Merseyside Police after they admitted unlawfully arresting, detaining and assaulting him.

David Ovien, of Prenton, was with friends in 'The Latin Quarter' bar in Birkenhead (near Liverpool) on 9 August 2009. The bar is a '2 for 1' venue connected to Bam Buddah club by a landing at the top of a steep flight of 30 steps. Mr. Ovien, who wasn't drinking, had paid for entrance to both venues and was given a wristband to permit entry. As he tried to get into Bam Buddah the doormen refused him entry and attempted to force him out of the building down the stairs. Mr. Ovien, who was scared of falling, held on to the banister and insisted he would leave peacefully if the doormen stopped manhandling him. Sergeant Gareth Hughes of Merseyside Police appeared and immediately took the doormen's side, forcibly removing Mr. Ovien from the club.

Outside, Mr. Ovien was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Birkenhead Police Station. No reason was given. At the police station Sergeant Hughes again restrained Mr. Ovien and forced him to the floor, banging his forehead.

Eventually, samples of Mr. Ovien's fingerprints and DNA were taken; he was charged with a s.5 Public Order Act 1986 offence (for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour) and released.

Mr. Ovien, who works as a Public Health Intelligence professional, defended the charges and was forced to attend Wirral Magistrates' Court on four occasions between February to June 2010 where he was acquitted after a full trial.

David Ovien instructed Iain Gould, solicitor/partner of Liverpool law firm David Phillips & Partners, to pursue an actions against the police compensation claim.

Mr. Gould said, 'Mr. Ovien was entirely innocent. Although the police readily admitted after his acquittal that the arrest, detention and assault were unlawful, they refused to apologise and to accept that the prosecution itself was malicious, suggesting that they were guilty of no more than 'honest incompetence'. As a result, they offered him only £700 compensation, and refused to acknowledge the huge stress and upset caused by the criminal proceedings and trial.

I was forced to issue proceedings on Mr. Ovien's behalf. Following protracted negotiations and four further offers over the course of the past year, he has now accepted £12,000 plus costs.

At a time when the government is making massive cuts in police and court service budgets it is shameful that Merseyside Police did not stop to think before pursuing the criminal prosecution of an innocent man. As a result, the taxpayer must pay a wholly unnecessary bill for the criminal trial and compensation payment.'

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 29 years legal experience in the following specialised areas; criminal defence, accident claims, actions against the police, matters involving children, motoring offences and prison law matters.

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