Police pay M3 damages

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The Independent Online
Two environmentalist received more than pounds 10,000 damages from police yesterday for unlawful arrest during protests against construction of the M3 bypass at Twyford Down.

Paul Lawrence, from Southsea in Hampshire, and Paul Kingsnorth, of Shepherd's Bush, west London, were arrested for obstruction in May 1993 after demonstrating on a bridge over the controversial road.

Winchester County Court was told that police had no power of arrest for the offence without a warrant and Hampshire Police had acknowledged in January that the arrests and detention were unlawful. Mr Lawrence received pounds 4,750 damages and Mr Kingsnorth pounds 5,500 against the Chief Constable of Hampshire, John Hoddinott.

Nicola Meese, representing the men, told the court that the Chief Constable had "unreservedly apologised" to them.

Mr Lawrence, 23, said after the case: "The whole episode was badly mismanaged, but the police were only acting on orders from above ..."

To date, police have paid out more than pounds 80,000 in damages to Twyford Down protesters and another 40 claims for damages are outstanding.