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Opal false imprisonment

Sydney / New South Wales Transport Discussion

Opal false imprisonment

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:05 am

March 22 2017 Sydney man Sam Le awarded $3000 over four-minute false imprisonment .
A Sydney man has been awarded $3000 for being stopped by police for four minutes at Liverpool train station, after a court ruled this amounted to false imprisonment.
Sam Le, 24, was approached by two police officers in January last year and asked to produce his Opal card and pensioner concession card, along with photo identification.
Sydney man awarded $3000 for false imprisonment.
A court has awarded a Sydney man $3000 for being stopped by police for four minutes at Liverpool train station.
One of the officers told the District Court he suspected Mr Le may have stolen the concession card because he appeared "young and fit" and was "evasive" when asked to hand over his Opal card.
In an exchange captured by Mr Le on his mobile phone, the officer called him a "smart arse" and asked if he "had a problem listening".
Sam Le began filming when police demanded to see his concession card. Photo: Sam Le .
He was told he was not under arrest but was "not leaving" until the officers had verified his identity.
"So this officer is now demanding ... my driver's licence when I'm not even in a car," Mr Le said in the video.
"Yeah, put it onto whatever social media you want. Be a hero," the officer replied, after Mr Le said the officer was refusing to tell him his first name.
After four minutes and 15 seconds waiting on the platform while police conducted a radio check, Mr Le was told he was "free to go".
Police conducted a radio check of Mr Le's details. Photo: Sam Le .
Mr Le sued the state of NSW in the District Court for false imprisonment and won.
Judge Matthew Dicker said the police officer had an "honest suspicion" the concession card may have been stolen but this was based on "tenuous" rather than "reasonable" grounds.
Mr Le's apparent youth was "not a fact which could reasonably ground a suspicion that the concession card may have been stolen" and he did not act evasively, Judge Dicker said.
He said police did not have the power to demand commuters hand over more than their Opal card and concession card, unless they did not have their concession card with them and had other "relevant evidence" to support their entitlement to the concession.
Mr Le gave evidence in court he was on a disability pension.
Judge Dicker said there was "no conscious wrongdoing" by the police and their evidence was truthful, although it was "not appropriate" to call Mr Le a "smart arse".
In contrast, he rejected some of Mr Le's evidence and said "some caution should be exercised" in accepting it without "independent evidence".
But he said false imprisonment had been established and awarded Mr Le $3201 in damages including interest.
Judge Dicker said physical constraint or force "does not have to be proved" and Mr Le had established he was "imprisoned through being detained".
In calculating damages he took into account the "very short period" of detention, along with the fact Mr Le was "not manhandled ... or handcuffed" or put in a police cell or van.
Mr Le's lawyer, Andrea Turner, said commuters were unaware of their legal rights and were handing over their drivers' licences to police "without anything being suspicious about their concession card and nothing suspicious about their Opal card".
Mr Le said he brought the case because he wanted to "send a message to the police force that they can't just approach someone and demand their personal identification ... when a person has not committed any offence".
"There's no reason for police to approach me demanding my ID [to] do further checks on me," he said.
A NSW police spokesman said they were "currently reviewing the decision of the court".
It is the second time Mr Le has sued the state over an incident with police. A 2015 case was settled out of court.
He denied in court that he said to the police officer involved in the earlier incident "thanks for the holiday" and he had "lots of money" as a result of the settlement.
www.smh.com.au/nsw/sydney-man-sam-le-aw ... uzrnu.html
Roderick Smith
 
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