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Catherine Shannon Notable Cases

LM [2020]

Catherine acted for LM who was arrested from his home address and detained in police custody for 19 hours. There was no lawful basis for LM’s arrest, which resulted from inaccurate data held about him on police systems. LM secured a substantive settlement including an admission of liability, an apology, rectification of his data, the deletion of forensic samples taken after his arrest and damages.

RF [2020]

Catherine acted for RF, a black British man, who was stopped by police officers under Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 while driving his car. During the events that followed RF was detained in his car for more than an hour. He was thereafter arrested and charged with alleged offences; RF was acquitted of each of those offences at trial some eight months later. RF brought civil claims against the police force involved, including claims under the Data Protection Act, for trespass to the person and for malicious prosecution. He secured a substantive settlement.

Concerns have been raised about the breadth of the power under S163 which allows police officers to stop drivers without reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed. Key safeguards which apply to other police powers of stop and search, such as the requirement to record the ethnicity of those people who are stopped, do not apply to S163, giving rise to concerns about the potential for its discriminatory use.

Sasha Forster, deceased

Catherine acts for the family of Sasha Forster who took her own life, aged 20, while detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act at Farnham Road Hospital, run by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Three critical reports were prepared by the Coroner at the conclusion of Sasha’s inquest with a view to preventing future deaths.

HBX v The Home Office

Catherine acted in the case of HXB, a gay asylum seeker who was detained in the now defunct Detained Fast Track. He was subjected to homophobic abuse from detainees in detention including being spat at. He brought a civil claim against the Home Office and received a substantive settlement.

Branko Zdravkovic, deceased

Catherine acted in the inquest arising from the death of Branko Zdravkovic in immigration detention. Mr Zdravkovic, who was Slovenian, took his own life aged 43 at the Verne Immigration Removal Centre. The evidence revealed a systemic breach of the statutory duty to report a detainee’s risk of suicide to the Home Office under Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001. The Coroner issued a report to prevent future deaths requiring that action be taken to ensure compliance. Further details are available here.

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