M3 arrests cost police £50,000

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The Independent Online
Hampshire police are to pay damages totalling more than £50,000 to 10 people unlaw- fully arrested or detained during the 1993 protests against the cutting of the M3 motorway through Twyford Down, near Winchester.

As part of an out-of-court settlement announced yesterday at Winchester County Court, the Chief Constable of Hampshire, John Hoddinott, apologised to the protesters.

The amount each received related to the time he or she was wrongfully detained. The highest award was £8,500. An estimated 40 further cases to be dealt with could raise the total damages to more than £500,000, protesters said.

Most of yesterday's claims were for unlawful arrest for obstructing a police officer, wrongful detention or malicious prosecution.

John Davis, representing the protesters, said the arrests for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty were unlawful because there was no power of arrest without a warrant for that offence.