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Man arrested for driving under the influence despite not driving a car

Background

In November 2022, Mr L attended a party and thereafter made his way home with a female. Whilst on his way home, Mr L and the female were stopped by officers from Essex Police. This was due to officers having 15 minutes prior seen a car with a male and female in travelling at 52mph in a 30mph zone. The officers had shortly after initially spotting the speeding car lost sight of it and were unable to locate it thereafter. The descriptions provided by the officers were matching the description of the ‘Heavy set black male and an Asian female, dark hair’ as described by one officer and ‘white female aged early 20’s and black male aged early 20’s’ as described by another officer.

Even though Mr L was not driving a car nor there being a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle nearby, the officers proceeded to suspect Mr L of being the driver of the speeding car. Not only this, but the officers then too stated that the suspected that Mr L was under the influence of drugs. The officers therefore proceeded to breathalyse Mr L in which the results were negative. Dissatisfied with this, the officers advised Mr L that they also required him to take a drug test. Again Mr L complied and the results of this test were negative. Mr L explained that he had been to a party and had taken a small substance but protested that he would never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Having failed the drug test, officers proceeded to arrest Mr L for driving a motor vehicle with excess of drugs and thereafter escorted him to the nearest police station. Mr L was informed in custody that he was required to give a further sample by way of a needle. Mr L having been previously stabbed was unable to comply with this request and explained why several times. As Mr L was unable to comply, he was further arrested for failing to provide evidential samples.

Whilst in custody, it transpired that another the correct suspect had been identified following a review of CCTV. Mr L was therefore told that he faced no further action for driving under the influence. The police did however continue to charge Mr L for failing to provide and Mr L thereafter awaited his trial. To Mr L’s relief, as the trial approached the prosecution dropped this charge.

Representation

After experiencing the above, Mr L approached specialist Actions Against the Police Solicitors, Irving’s Law, for assistance. Miss Jenkins immediately acknowledged that Mr L had been subject to wrongful treatment by the police and after gathering evidence submitted a Letter of Claim to the police highlighting their wrongdoing. Miss Jenkins highlighted that officers could not have reasonably suspected Mr L of driving under the influence when he was not driving a car, nor did he have the means to do so. Miss Jenkins highlighted the weakness in the arresting officer’s suspicion having provided vague and non-matching descriptions of the suspect and a female and male (noting that the descriptions taken in by the officers at nighttime and when the speeding car was traveling at 53mph).

Outcome

After submission of the letter of claim, Essex Police, along with their letter of response made an offer of £5,000.00 plus payment of Mr L’s legal costs which was accepted.

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