Compensation for Police Misconduct in Domestic Violence Case (SG v State of New South Wales)

Key Words: Police misconduct – unlawful arrest – abusive domestic relationship ­– compensation awarded after a trial – police power to enter in emergencies, Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 s 9 – power of police officers to arrest without warrant, Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 s 99

Facts:

Our client was the victim of an abusive domestic relationship. The first incident in question occurred when SG’s partner tried to eject SG from their apartment late at night. The partner called the police, who, upon arrival, tried to force SG to leave the apartment. SG locked herself in the bathroom and took a bath to calm herself down. After a short while the police burst into the bathroom and dragged SG, naked, out into the living room and arrested her. Following this first incident, SG kept a wardrobe across her bedroom door while she was sleeping. The second incident in question occurred when police – called to the house on allegations that SG had damaged her partner’s property – forced their way through the bedroom drawer and wardrobe and arrested SG. Police arrested SG despite her heightened state of distress and despite her claims that she thought she was having a heart attack.

After the criminal charges against our client were dropped, we helped her sue the police for two counts of unlawful arrest.

Result:

The claims against the police went to trial, and the court found in favour of our client in regards to the above two incidents.  Our client was awarded compensation.

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