John Goss successful for two police forces in jury trial

28 April 2023

John represented the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and the Chief Constable of Sussex Police in a four-day jury trial in the County Court at Central London. He successfully obtained the dismissal of all claims by a claimant against both forces. The Claimant, Lyndon Kirton, had alleged that police officers from both forces had unlawfully forced entry to his home to look for a high-risk missing child. He alleged that Sussex officers had then unlawfully detained him as soon as they entered the property, and also assaulted him by holding him by the arms. The officers said they had entered the property to save life or limb based on intelligence received (among other factors), and that they had arrested and detained the Claimant based on his behaviour once they entered the property.

The claim was heard with a jury. After live evidence from six witnesses across three days, the judge discharged the jury on the basis that there were no disputed issues of fact on which he needed their assistance. That followed the Claimant’s acceptance that the factual case for the police had been proven, including the intelligence they had relied on and his behaviour within the property. The Claimant’s counsel nonetheless sought to persuade the judge that the officers’ genuine belief in the necessity to enter the property, to arrest, and to use force were unreasonable. John’s submissions in response were accepted in full, leading to the claim against both police forces being dismissed. The court held that the officers had lawfully entered the property, lawfully arrested the Claimant, and lawfully used a very slight degree of force against him. The Claimant was ordered to pay the costs of both forces, with an order made for substantial interim payments on account of costs pending detailed assessment.

John regularly acts for police forces in civil claims relating to use of police powers as well as human rights, counter-terrorism, data protection and information, and public law matters. He is ranked as Rising Star for police law in The Legal 500, and as Up & Coming for police law in Chambers & Partners.

Related areas

Data Protection
Police Law


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