South East Wales

South Wales Police pay-out for Tomas James after Cardiff assault claim

A Cardiff man has won damages from police after he said he was assaulted while being wrongly arrested.

Tomas James, 28, took his injured girlfriend to the University Hospital of Wales before being arrested in 2008.

He sued South Wales Police after claiming he was struck with a baton and punched in the head.

The force agreed an undisclosed out-of-court settlement without admitting liability before the case was heard at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre.

Mr James, an insurance worker, was also with a friend. Solicitors for Mr James said the friend had made a comment at the hospital.

Mr James claimed he was "frog-marched" to a waiting police van, his foot was trapped in the door and he was hit with a baton and punched.

He said he was so afraid he dialled 999 on his mobile phone and asked the emergency services for help.

The police had claimed that while they were arresting him he attempted to grab the baton and had been punched in the head.

Mr James was later prosecuted for an offence of assaulting a police officer and obstruction but a district judge at Cardiff Magistrates Court acquitted him on all counts and ruled he had not been lawfully arrested.

After the settlement his legal team made public CCTV of the arrest and a transcript of his 999 call.

Judge Philip Richards said: "I approve of the settlement of this case and it is obviously suitable that this has happened."

After the case Mr James said: "What was done to me was wrong and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

"I hope that this settlement will make the police think twice before they act the same way in the future."

Gareth Madge, director of legal services with the force, said the claim had been settled without any admission of liability.

"As a publicly-funded organisation, South Wales Police is always mindful of the cost to public funds and on occasions a settlement on this basis, in accordance with counsel's advice, is the most appropriate course of action."

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