Unlawful arrest

Mr AB was giving his girlfriend a lift from London Bridge to her home in Croydon on the evening in August 2021

For some reason Met officers found this very suspicious. Why would a car registered in SE1 be in the Croydon area? They stopped him to find out, omitting to cite any legal basis for such a stop. They then required MR AB to get out of the car on the basis that Croydon was “well known for drug dealing and gang crime.” Mr AB quite rightly refused, at which point the officers claimed that they detected the smell of cannabis and detained him for a drug search and handcuffed him for the purpose.

The officers found no drugs but upon searching his car they did find a multi-tool which Mr AB had bought from Asda a few days previously for work purposes. Unfortunately for MR AB the blade part of the multi-tool locked and so fell within the definition of a bladed article.

He was arrested and in interview gave full account giving reasonable excuse as the tool was for work. Following release from the police station he was stopped again as his vehicle was now marked for weapons!

The police failed to investigate the defence Mr AB put forward and 6 months later they charged him with possession of a bladed article. The case was dropped by CPS upon the Crown Court Judge demanding to know if the case had been reviewed given that the tool was obviously for work purposes.

Duncan Burtwell comments

This is a good example of a case where at first glance the arrest was lawful. The tool found by police did fall within the definition of a “bladed article,” such that possession of it was on the face of it was an offence, but nevertheless there was a strong civil claim against the police.

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