ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2012] EWHC 604 (QB), [2012] MHLO 25

ZH, a severely autistic, epileptic 19-year-old man, became fixated with the water during a school visit to a swimming pool and would not move from the water's edge: the police were called; when an officer touched him on his back he jumped into the water, fully clothed; the police had him taken out of the pool and restrained him. (1) The police actions constituted assault, battery and false imprisonment. There was no need for the police to be aware of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for the defence in ss5-6 to be made out, but on the facts it was not. When the MCA applies, the common law defence of necessity has no application, but had it applied it would have failed. (2) There was a breach of the DDA 1995 duty to make reasonable adjustments to the normal practice, policy or procedure, and the defence of justification failed. (3) The inhuman or degrading treatment breached Article 3. (4) Even treating purpose and intention as relevant, there was a breach of Article 5. (5) The intereference with ZH's private life under Article 8 was not in accordance with the law or proportionate. (6) Quantum: PTSD £10,000; exacerbation of epilepsy £12,500; DDA £5,000; trespass to the person (loss of liberty £500, pain and distress from assault £250); total £28,250; no aggravated or exemplary damages; no additional HRA damages.

Related judgments

ZH v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2013] EWCA Civ 69, [2013] MHLO 9

External link


Transcript on Judiciary website

Owen Bowcott, 'Autistic teenager wins damages from police after being restrained' (Guardian, 14/3/12)