Photographer wins police payout over lawful pics
December 12, 2011
A freelance photographer has won an out-of-court settlement from the Metropolitan Police over pictures taken at a military parade last year.
Police had initially told Jules Mattsson (pictured), then 15, that he needed parental permission to photograph police cadets in Romford, Essex.
He was eventually arrested for breach of the peace and detained for 15 minutes before being released.
Mattsson’s lawyers, Bindmans LLP, argued that officers had falsely imprisoned the photographer, assaulted him and breached his ‘right to report, under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1998’.
Mattsson repeatedly told officers that they had no right to stop him taking pictures in a public place.
He was told that his photography of cadets taking part in the Armed Forces Day in June 2010 was ?anti-social?.
Despite his protests, Mattsson claimed that police took his camera, frogmarched him away from the area and pushed him down some stairs after he refused to give an officer his personal details.
The reasons for stopping the photographer appeared to change by the minute, as revealed in Mattsson’s conversation with police which he recorded on his mobile phone and uploaded to YouTube afterwards, along with some pictures.
At one point an officer told the photographer that police did not need the power of the law to stop him taking pictures.
Mattsson – a student working as a photographer in his spare time – was told he was breaching the Terrorism Act, Public Order Act and child protection laws.
‘I was quickly and aggressively stopped by one of their [police cadet’s] adult officers asking me who I worked for ?’ the photographer wrote in his blog at the time.
‘I responded that I was a freelance and upon being told I needed parental permission to photograph them, I explained this was a public event in a public place and that I didn’t for editorial use.’
Mattsson was told that his photography presented a danger because, if he continued, he was ‘likely to be trampled on by soldiers’ from the parade.
Speaking today, Mattsson’s solicitor Chez Cotton said: ‘The police had no right to stop him photographing in a public place. The Inspector attempted to justify his actions in shocking and absurd ways.’
In a statement, the Met told Amateur Photographer today: ?We can confirm the MPS Directorate of Legal Services, on behalf of the Commissioner, agreed an out-of-court settlement, as well as paying compensation and meeting legal costs for a 16-year-old male, following an incident where he was prevented by officers taking pictures at the Armed Forces Parade in Romford on 26 June 2010.?
A Met spokesman added that the force has issued an apology.
The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed.
Jules Mattsson outside Scotland Yard last year where photographers held protests over anti-terror legislation
(Pictures: C Cheesman)