£35,000 damages for man stripped by police
AN ORMSKIRK man pepper-sprayed in front of his children before being stripped naked and “intimately searched” was paid £35,000 in damages by police.
Shocking footage showed Paul Ponting, now 48, being stripped by police and then refusing to put on a “paper suit” officers tossed him as they left his cell at Skelmersdale Police Station.
Mr Ponting says he feels “vindicated” after a fouryear legal battle with Lancashire Constabulary, which decided not to fight a civil claim for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution.
The force confirmed it arresting officer. Mr Pont- always right and they are had settled without liabil- ing said the stress of the never wrong, and don’t ity, meaning it made no arrest and legal battle left get me wrong they do a formal admission of him needing medication. great job in a lot of areas, wrong-doing, although He said: “I have always but they’re not perfect the settlement including a said I’m not anti-police, and they can be pretty evil letter of apology. I’m anti-police corrup- when they want.”
Mr Ponting, of Yew Tree tion. According to the terms Road, was later charged “It has never been about of the settlement, agreed with assaulting the officer money. It was a massive at Liverpool County who arrested him, harassing weight on our shoulders. Court, Lancashire police another officer and It is that frustration when have until October 10 to public order offences. you know you are right send a letter containing
But he was cleared of all and you are not being the following apology: charges at Chorley Magistrates’ believed. “The Chief Constable Court, with the “People have this view wishes to apologise to you bench criticising the of the police that they are for the way the incident was handled. The Chief Constable hopes now your action against the force has been settled you will be able to regain your health and, in time, your faith in Lancashire Constabulary.”
Iain Gould, of DPP Law, who specialises in actions against the police and represented Mr Ponting, said: “This was a case of a law-abiding family man subjected to gratuitous violence, unlawful arrest and prosecution – a huge waste of police time and public resources – and as a result his faith in the police was shattered.
“Paul is man of principle and the most important thing about this settlement is not the level of damages but the apology he has now received from the Chief Constable.
“I applaud the Chief Constable for doing so; a sense of justice being done is the primary objective for people like Paul.”