Police to pay man pounds 108,000 damages

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The Independent Online
A trainee pub manager whose "world fell apart" when he was falsely accused of serious drugs offences was awarded more than pounds 100,000 damages against the Metropolitan Police by a High Court jury yesterday.

Andrew Kownacki, 31, had to wait 19 months before he was finally cleared of all charges laid against him after a raid involving 200 police officers on the Three Kings Public House, Talgarth Road, Hammersmith, west London in May 1991.

Yesterday, the jury awarded Mr Kownacki, of Main Street, Martin, near Lincoln, pounds 108,750 damages against the Metropolitan Police for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The award included pounds 45,000 punitive damages to reflect their "disquiet, distaste and disapproval" of the treatment that Mr Kownacki, who now works for an employment agency in Lincoln, received.

The award comes just days after 29-year-old Daniel Goswell was awarded record damages of pounds 302,000 against the Metropolitan Police for being hit by a constable with a truncheon while handcuffed.

A trainee assistant manager in the pub at the time of the raid, Mr Kownacki was held in police custody for 16 hours before being charged with supplying cannabis and permitting the premises to be used for dealing the drug. But when the case eventually came to trial in December 1992, the prosecution offered no evidence and he was formally acquitted.

During the 19 months Mr Kownacki waited for the case to be resolved "his world fell apart", his counsel, Gregory Treverton-Jones, told the court yesterday. His plans to take over the managership of a pub had to be put on hold and "he drifted from job to job", becoming depressed and paranoid.

Mr Justice French ordered a stay on pounds 80,000 of the award for 21 days while police decide whether or not to appeal.