Photographer wins ‘£4,000’ in police payout [update]
March 3, 2008
A photojournalist has won £4,000 from police in an out-of-court settlement after claiming that officers assaulted him while photographing a political protest outside Parliament.
Photographer Marc Vallée has accepted a written apology from the Metropolitan Police after he sued them following injuries he sustained while covering the Sack Parliament demonstration in Parliament Square in London on 9 October 2006.
He was subsequently treated at nearby St Thomas?s hospital, according to the National Union of Journalists which states that the photographer?s legal costs have also been met by police.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed to Amateur Photographer (AP) that both parties agreed a settlement figure of £4,000.
Speaking to AP, Vallée said he expects police costs to total around £15,000, meaning that the case would cost the police nearly £20,000.
In a statement The Met told us that the £4,000 settlement was reached ?with no admission of liability?.
Vallée had issued legal proceedings against the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair, accusing police of assault and of breaching his ?freedom of expression and assembly? under the Human Rights Act 1998.
‘I’d already had my press card checked twice that morning,’ Vallée told us, adding that the incident occurred after he had backed away from the protesters. ‘I was grabbed by three officers. It was like a conveyor belt. I said ‘I am press’.
‘The last [officer] propelled me across the street and through a police line and I landed on my back.’
Vallée?s solicitor Chez Cotton said: ?This was an extremely unpleasant incident. Neither the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or his officers has any legal power, moral responsibility or political responsibility to prevent or restrict what the media record.
?Mr Vallée is a well-respected photojournalist, lawfully present to photograph a political protest outside parliament, yet he was brutally prevented from doing so by the police.?