Amateur photographer wins ‘£10,000’ police payout

June 7, 2012

Anthony Finnegan was arrested after taking a photo of a branch of NatWest in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in July 2009.

Finnegan said an officer and a PCSO demanded to know why he was taking ‘discreet photographs’ of the building’s doorway.

He replied that he was taking a picture of a period building. ‘There’s nothing discreet about this, it’s an SLR camera. If I was being discreet I’d use a phone,’ he told the Guardian.

Finnegan, who was asked for identification but was not carrying any, said he was handcuffed and put in a police cell during a seven-hour ordeal in which he was forced to the ground ‘face down in a puddle’ on way to the station.

The photographer said he suffered a cracked rib in the process.

Finnegan’s lawyer Fiona Murphy, from Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, confirmed: ‘West Mercia Police has agreed to admit liability, apologise and pay £10,000 compensation to Anthony Finnegan, who was wrongfully arrested for taking a photograph of a high-street bank.’

Murphy – who branded the officers’ conduct as ‘regrettable abuse of police powers’ – said the force has agreed to destroy records of Finnegan’s detention.

West Mercia Police spokesman Toby Shergold said: ‘This case is live and subject to ongoing litigation and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this time.’

Shergold told AP that he was unable to speculate as to how long the legal process will take before the case is closed.

Earlier this year, AP revealed how amateur photographer Bob Patefield won an out-of-court settlement worth thousands of pounds after suing police for wrongful arrest.

Patefield, from Colne, filed a civil action against the Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, claiming he was unlawfully arrested while taking photos of Christmas festivities in Accrington in December 2009.

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