Hamilton v State of New South Wales (No 23) [2016] NSWSC 1311

On the evening of 12 December 2009, Mr Hamilton was assaulted by a police officer after an alleged confrontation with a taxi driver.

On the evening of 12 December 2009, our client, Mr Hamilton, a man in his mid-60’s, attended a work function on a boat in Sydney harbour. Mr Hamilton and a few of his friends got a taxi back to another area of the city where they were staying. At some stage during the taxi ride a disagreement broke out between one of our client’s friends and the cab driver.

The cab driver pulled into the curb and asked all of his passengers to get out of the cab. Our client got out of the cab. At this stage the cab driver has alleged that our client assaulted him by shoving him in the back of the head.

Our client has proceeded to walk back to his hotel. At the same time the cab driver has called out to police on the other side of the road and told them that he has been assaulted.

The Police ran after our client who was still walking towards his hotel.

When the police officer caught up Mr Hamilton, without any warning the officer grabbed him from behind, swung him into a wall, then tackled him to the floor, stood him up, and then leg swept him to the floor again where he proceeded to kneel on him and handcuff him. At this stage another police officer arrived to help detain our client.

During this process our client did not resist and complied with directions of the police officers.

Mr Hamilton sustained significant injuries from the use of force by the police officer, including a significant psychological injury.

The police officer claimed that he did not conduct the arrest in such a way, and that our client had tried to assault him by throwing a punch. Fortunately, we were able to obtain CCTV footage confirming our client’s story, at no stage had our client resisted arrest or tried to assault the police officer.

In fact, the CCTV footage made it clear that the police without warning, chased our client and then assaulted him all on the pretext of making an arrest. The police should simply have approached our client from in front, announced themselves as police and asked our client to stop. Instead they chose to swing our client into a nearby wall, head first causing significant injury.

The matter was heard in the Supreme Court before Justice Campbell who found that Mr Hamilton was assaulted by the police, wrongly arrested, falsely imprisoned, was maliciously prosecuted, and had sustained significant injury due to the force used by the police officers.

Justice Campbell found in favour of Mr Hamilton and ordered the State of NSW to pay our client compensation in the amount of $582,000 plus his legal costs.

About Matthew Garling

Matthew Garling, Founder of Garling & Co is a NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law. He specialises in compensation law and has acted on behalf of thousands of injured people in work accidents, motor vehicle accidents and negligence cases over the last 20 years.

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