Update: Essex Police is considering appeal against damages awarded to Lord Hanningfield
13:35 15 February 2013
ESSEX Police say they are “disappointed” after the High Court ordered the force to pay Lord Hanningfield £3,500 in damages.
Lord Hanningfield, 72, sued for compensation over events in September 2011 - days after his release from prison on a tag after serving nine weeks of a nine-month sentence for false accounting.
The police, who denied that his arrest, detention and the search of his home near Chelmsford were unlawful, were conducting an investigation into expenses from when the peer was leader of Essex County Council.
It was later discontinued without any charges being brought.
Lord Hanningfield, who was not at London’s High Court for today’s ruling, claimed officers did not have reasonable grounds for believing that his arrest was “necessary” within the terms of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
A statement issued by Essex Police said: “Essex Police is disappointed with today’s judgment and are considering the merits of appealing the decision.
“We note that the court accepted that officers had acted in good faith and that they had honestly believed the arrest was necessary.
“The decision to arrest is never taken lightly and we recognise the right of individuals to challenge such decisions before the Courts.”
Mr Justice Eady said the requirement of “necessity” as laid down by Parliament had not, on any realistic interpretation of the word, been met.
The judge said that, in the light of his findings, the amount of damages had been agreed.