Police pay £50,000 to M3 protesters

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The Independent Online
Hampshire Police has agreed to pay more than £50,000 to 10 roads protesters they unlawfully arrested at Twyford Down.

The out-of-court settlements are to demonstrators who were arrested during protests against the M3 extension in 1993. Some 50 people are suing Hampshire Police for wrongful arrest between May and July 1993, when demonstrations reached a peak.

John Davis, a solicitor of the Sheffield-based firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented the 10 plaintiffs, said: "The police have accepted they acted unlawfully. The power of arrest was not available to them for obstruction of justice.''

One of the ten is Dr David Abbott, 51, of Shawford, near Winchester, a GP who works in America and will receive £4,500. He said: ``I am a guy who used to vote Conservative and was basically a law and order type person. This has made me far more liberal.''

Mr Davis said there were about 40 similar claims still outstanding, which he hoped would be settled soon. Hampshire Police refused to comment.

The DoT is suing 76 road protesters for £2m damages in delaying the M3 extension through Twyford Down.The other nine plaintiffs and their damages are: Jan Hancock of Southampton, £6,100; Jason Reed of Bristol, £5,000; William Quick of Stroud, £3,000; Christopher Harris of Farnham, £6,000; Rowan Burrough of Stroud, £3,500; Jonathan Elliott of Sherborne, £8,000; Diana Hewett of Muswell Hill, north London, £8,500; Matthew Beggs of Canterbury, £5,000; and James Attwood of Leicester, £3,750.