Monday 08 April 2013 by Catherine Baksi
A criminal solicitor has received 'substantial damages' from the Metropolitan Police after settling a claim that she was assaulted in an East London police station as she sought to represent her 13-year-old client.
Catriona Sheehan, a solicitor with 20 years' experience, started a civil action against the police for assault, claiming that she was injured after being forcibly removed from the custody suite at Shoreditch police station (pictured) in July 2006.
She had attended to represent a 13-year-old who had voluntarily surrendered himself to the police.
According to the claim, Sheehan sought to make representation to the custody sergeant after being told the police intended to arrest and detain her client.
She said that the police refused to receive her representations and the custody officer ordered her removal. Sheehan protested and alleged that she was grabbed and man-handled in front of her client, sustaining injuries.
Later that day the client was released without charge.
After complaints to the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commissioner were dismissed, Sheehan's solicitor, Andre Clovis at criminal firm Tuckers, commenced a civil action for assault.
The case was listed for trial in November but Tuckers said last week that 'without an apology or any admission of liability the police agreed to pay substantial damages together with her legal costs'.
The Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that the claim had been settled, but was not prepared to discuss the amount awarded.
Clovis said: 'A solicitor's obligation is to their client and to the court, not to the police. Solicitors discharging their professional obligations should be able to do so, without fear that they will then be subjected to improper or unlawful conduct by police officers.'