Seven campaigners who were arrested under Trade Union Laws by South Yorkshire Police whilst protesting against tree felling in Sheffield have secured an out of court settlement over their claim for wrongful arrest and breach of the Human Rights Act.
A total of £24,300 has been paid to Calvin Payne, Simon Crump, Jeremy Peace, Paul Brooke, Gemma Lock, Kate Billington and Margaret Mark.
The seven were arrested between November 2016 and February 2017 and were kept in custody for up to 9 hours.
All were charged under section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act but proceedings were subsequently discontinued.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct upheld their complaints and found the arrests were “not appropriate”.
Following this, an out of court settlement has now been reached with South Yorkshire Police in respect of the civil claims for damages. Part of the claim was a claim for breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 which recognises protestors’ right to peaceful protest.
Commenting on the settlement, Iftikhar Manzoor of Howells Solicitors specialist Civil Liberties department who acted for the protestors said “I am pleased that South Yorkshire Police agreed to this settlement. The right to peaceful protest is fundamental in a democratic society. The recognition that this right was breached was central to the concerns of all the protestors in pursuing their complaints and damages claims. The importance of this outcome is a hope that lessons will be learnt by the police to avoid such unnecessary arrests in the future which were upsetting and stressful for my clients. ”
One of the campaigners Paul Brooke said “What I find astonishing is that South Yorkshire Police have not made any form of apology for our wrongful arrests. This was a deliberate act to prevent legitimate protest and was a violation of our very basic rights”
There are a number of outstanding claims still to be resolved.