UK photographer wins grenade attack legal battle
November 23, 2009
A UK photographer has won a six year legal battle against the Swiss government after he sued over injuries inflicted by a ‘police stun grenade’ during a political protest outside a G8 Summit.
Freelance photographer Guy Smallman suffered a serious leg injury from an explosion while covering a demonstration outside the G8 Summit in Geneva in 2003.
We understand that the court had to decide whether the photographer’s injury had been caused by a police grenade, or a firework thrown by one of the protesters.
The photographer said he was forced off work for six months as a result of the injury which still restricts his mobility.
Speaking this morning to Amateur Photographer (AP), Smallman said that Friday’s court decision paves the way for his claim for compensation.
Smallman’s lawyer has now filed a claim for compensation totalling around £50,000.
Had the London-based photographer lost the case he faced a £20,000 legal bill.
Smallman said that the court’s decision came as a huge relief: ‘I don’t think it really sunk in until this morning,’ he told AP.
The photographer said the decision strikes an important blow for journalists covering protests abroad, though he feels such incidents are viewed as an ‘occupational hazard’.
He said he had been running up a flight of stairs to get away from the crowd when he was hit by an explosion from a grenade thrown from above.
Smallman’s legal victory was today confirmed by the National Union of Journalists which had backed the photographer’s fight for justice.
An original judgement had found in Smallman’s favour, but the State of Geneva was successful with a subsequent appeal.
A video of the incident can be seen here.