Dutton and others v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Claims for damages brought by four Everton fans arrested during a match at the Emirates Stadium in 2008 have been dismissed by the County Court, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice, following an 11 day trial.

The arrests followed a dispute between Everton fans and stewards after the fans complained that Arsenal supporters were spitting at them and throwing objects on them from above.  A struggle developed when stewards apparently attempted to eject one of the claimants.  Police intervened and the struggle intensified, leading to one officer being punched and his helmet knocked off.  That officer subsequently used his baton in self-defence, striking one of the claimants on the head.  The four claimants were all arrested and were subsequently charged with threatening behaviour and other offences.  The claimants’ case was that none of them had acted in a violent manner and they were acquitted at trial.  However, the jury unanimously answered all nineteen factual questions put to them in favour of the police, resulting in the dismissal of the claimants’ claims for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.