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Rowlands V. Chief Constable Notes

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ROWLANDS V. CHIEF CONSTABLE FACTS In August 2002 the claimant, Mrs Susan Rowlands, and her family were living at 90 Eastham Road, New Ferry on the Wirral peninsula. The house across the road, no 89, was occupied by a group of people who, from Mrs Rowlands's point of view, might be described as troublesome neighbours. On 15 August Mrs Rowlands and her family had returned from a holiday in Spain; the following day, 16 August, was their first full day back at home. It seems that the people who lived at no 89 were due to leave the house the next day and were celebrating their imminent departure with a party. According to Mrs Rowlands, the party had gone on all day and had spilled out of the house into the front garden. There were about 20 people present and the party was rather rowdy, with a lot of loud music being played and plenty of drinking. By about 9 p m Mrs Rowlands and her family had had enough and she telephoned the police to complain. She was told to ring again if the noise got any worse. It did, so at about 10 p m she telephoned the police once more and a mobile patrol was sent in response. The two officers who attended the scene were Police Constable Patterson and Police Constable Marshall of the Merseyside Police. They paid a visit to no 89 Eastham Road and things quietened down, but as soon as they had left the noise began again and shortly afterwards the two policemen returned. Having spoken again to the occupants of no 89, Police Constable Patterson went across the road to no 90. There followed an altercation between him and Mrs Rowlands as a result of which she was arrested in front of her children, placed in handcuffs and taken to the police car. She said that the pain in her wrists was excruciating. Police Constable Patterson got into the back of the police car with her and when she asked him to loosen the handcuffs he tugged at them, deliberately causing her further pain. She was taken to Birkenhead police station where she was detained for about an hour and a half. She was later charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his duty and an additional offence of obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty. Some seven months later in March 2003 she was tried before Liverpool justices. Police Constable Patterson gave evidence for the prosecution. He said that Mrs Rowlands and the young people who were at 90 Eastham Road at the time had shouted abuse and had become aggressive towards him. He had tried to calm them down, but Mrs Rowlands had continued to shout abuse and behave in an aggressive manner. As a result of these experiences Mrs Rowlands brought proceedings in the Liverpool County Court against the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police seeking damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. In her particulars of

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