Dyfed Powys Police Pay Hunt Protestors 21,000 Compensation For Wrongful Arrest
A group of seven foxhunt protestors arrested whilst they were eating lunch in a minibus have each been paid £21,000 compensation by Dyfed Powys Police for wrongful arrest and for trespass to property. The group of 4 men and 3 women, the majority of which are from the Swansea area, were arrested on 21 November 1998 whilst peacefully observing the movement of the Sennybridge Farmers Foxhunt near Brecon.
Police officers said they were following the orders of senior officers and detained the protestors to 'prevent a breach of the peace' at approximately 12.15 pm. They were ordered to drive to Brecon Police station where they were held in custody for some 10 hours before being released until 10.30 pm that night.
One of the group, Carey Lynne Jurczyk of Swansea, said they were merely observing the hunt: "We arrived at the hunt with the intention to monitor what went on. It was an entirely peaceful activity and something we had done before. We couldn't believe the over-reaction from the Police and as the day went on, when it became apparent they planned to search my house for evidence, I was even more concerned and upset by the police's actions", says Carey Lynne Jurczyk.
Acting for the group, Iftikhar Manzoor of national law firm Irwin Mitchell says: "My clients were eating lunch in a minibus when they were arrested, and I find it hard to believe that the Police seriously saw this as a risk of a breach of the peace.
"This substantial compensation is for the wrongful arrest as well as for the Police trespassing on their property, when searching their homes, and for retaining property belonging to our clients."
On 19 February, almost three months after the incident, the people arrested received a letter from the police saying no further action was to be taken. They then spent a further three weeks trying to recover from the Police property that had been taken on the day of their arrest.
"With Dyfed Powys Police paying such a large sum in compensation this demonstrates that an over-reaction to peaceful and lawful conduct will not be tolerated and gives hope to others that their rights can not be violated without redress," says Iftikhar Manzoor.
The above Press Release is from the rather excellent Irwin Mitchell & Co (www.irwinmitchell.co.uk) who have acted on behalf of wronged sabs for many years.
An HSA spokesperson added: "Yet again it has taken the courage and dedication of Hunt Saboteurs to stand up to policing that harks back to feudal times! The police are all too willing to arrest Saboteurs for no reason whatsoever to pander to powerful people in the hunt, through ignorance or laziness or sometimes as in this case, sheer bloody mindedness.
"Police force insurers around the country have paid out many hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation or out of court settlements over the last decade. If the police think they can get away with this type of victimisation and partial policing, they should be bought to book and this is exactly what happened in this case. Sadly, we expect this is another 7 people who will never view the police in the same light."