An amateur photographer who was stopped while taking photographs in public two years ago has been awarded an out-of-court settlement after suing police for wrongful arrest.
Robert Patefield, from Colne, took out 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.
Patefield was released without charge after reportedly being held in custody for eight hours.
The prospect of a police payout was first reported by Amateur Photographer (AP) in September 2011.
AP today understands that Lancashire Police has agreed to make a payment but the final amount has yet to be confirmed.
Writing on the AP website forum, the photographer said: ?Many thanks to all who supported me.?
Patefield and a fellow photographer were at first quizzed by officers citing anti-terrorism laws.
Police later claimed that some members of the public had raised concerns about Patefield’s photography and accused him of taking photographs that could be deemed ‘anti-social’ .
Patefield said he was arrested after refusing to give officers his personal details.
The case attracted global attention as Patefield recorded the entire incident on a video subsequently published by The Guardian online.
Speaking at the time, Patefield said: ‘I consider myself to be a very law-abiding man. I was taking photos of everyday street goings-on.
‘There was a Father Christmas, a piped-band and people in fancy dress.’
Patefield maintained that CCTV footage showed that his photography was not anti-social and that no-one had complained to police about his behaviour.
In 2010, a Lancashire Police spokeswoman told us that its officers do not routinely stop people taking photographs in a public place but ‘clearly felt that the manner in which he was positioning his [Leica] camera and the way it was making some members of the public feel, could be construed as anti-social or indecent’.
Lancashire Police today refused to confirm whether or not it has made a payment to the photographer, adding that, if it had, the force would not be able to comment until the cheque had been accepted and cleared.