Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Mark Thomas wins 'stop and search' police payout

Comedian and activist Mark Thomas, who has supported the NUJ's campaign against anti-terror laws being used to stop photographers taking pictures in a public place, has won a £1,200 payout from the Metropolitan Police, the Daily Mail reports today.
The Mail says: "Thomas who was unlawfully stopped and searched by police for displaying an 'over-confident' attitude has won a £1,200 payout." He was searched for weapons by Metropolitan Police officers after giving a speech at an anti-arms trade rally in 2007, but nothing was found.
According to the Mail, "The constable involved later stated that Mr Thomas may have been carrying weapons as he appeared over-confident." The Met apologised and gave Thomas £1,200 for 'falsely imprisoning' him for 12 minutes.
The apology comes after NUJ member Pennie Quinton won a victory in the European Court of Human Rights which upheld her complaint against the use of terror laws to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion. Quinton was stopped near an arms fair in London in 2003 and prevented from filming the event. The European Court of Human Rights found it was unlawful for police to use their stop and search powers against peaceful protesters. Her victory was hailed by the NUJ as a "victory for media freedom"
  • There was a nice literal in the Mail story online which said that: "The Met Office plans to use Mr Thomas's case as an example when training officers." This prompted one wag to post: "The Met Office can't get the weather right and now they are going to train the Police. I can see a cold front moving in over Hendon." The online story has since been corrected to read "The Met plans to..."

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