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Open University law student wins battle against police over car seizure

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Officers failed to comply with regulations, investigation finds

A law student who went head-to-head with his local police force has emerged victorious after an investigation found that officers failed to comply with regulations when seizing his car.

Open University undergrad Harry Prosser filed a complaint against Essex Police after they seized his vehicle outside a shop in the seaside town of Dovercourt on 8 January due to “insufficient proof of insurance”, Gazette News reports. A subsequent investigation found this not to be true.

Prosser, 23, accused Essex Police of “oppressive conduct or harassment, excessive use of force, failures in duty and breach of the stop and search act when his car was taken from him”.

The law student, who was left without his car for over two months, also claimed he lost his job at Home Bargains after the incident.

The LLB-er’s complaint prompted an internal investigation which found that officers did not comply with the regulations and that he should receive a letter of apology, as well as formal confirmation that he has not been reported for having no insurance.

It also advised that the police officer in charge at the time attend a number of refresher training sessions covering topics including stop and search, the report adds.

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“I’m pleased it’s been proven I wasn’t doing anything wrong but at the end of it I still suffered a loss based on failings of the police,” Prosser said. “The incident has stopped me from getting out and about and I suffered with mental health, so it resulted in me not going to work and losing my job.”

He said it took him seven weeks to source the relevant proof of ownership documents for the vehicle and that he eventually signed ownership over to the car storage company “because it was way too expensive for me to recover it”.

Prosser — who told Legal Cheek he hopes to pursue a career as a criminal defence lawyer upon completion of his studies — continued:

“I was incurring £20 per day in storage fees, which after seven weeks it adds up to quite a bit,” he said. “I paid two months of insurance when I wasn’t even using the car, so in total I suffered £1,400 in damages for insurance and the loss of the car.”

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: “We take complaints against our officers very seriously and can confirm we have been in contact with Mr Prosser regarding the outcome of our investigation into his complaint. However it is not appropriate for us to comment further.”

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19 Comments

Frankly

Breach of the “stop and search Act”?

Also, why did it take him so long to find his proof of ownership?

Harry

“Breach of the stop and search act” was a direct quote from the local newspaper, the complaint referenced breaches of Code A of PACE 1984. The sufficient proof required was the full V5C and thus having only owned the car for 23 hours, the quickest option was to complete a V62 form and supply the new keeper slip to DVLA, it took 7 weeks for the DVLA to process and send this document.

Car stuff

A V5C is not proof of “ownership”, it records the registered keeper.

Alan

I hate the attitude of the police. Great to see when they get taken down a notch.

Anon

Dear god we are the midst of a global recession and people are desperate to know their law firms positions on job retention. Why aren’t LC approaching City law firms and asking them?

HR

I know that RPC are not planning any pay cuts, furlough, etc. A very strong message. Other firms not so.

Anon

Cool, thanks Alex, the three people who know who RPC are will be chuffed.

HR

I have nothing to do with Alex. RPC are a fantastic firm. Very nice people. Top quality work. Really good clients.

Anon

It is well known that everyone on the internet making anonymous comments are ALWAYS honest, so that’s enough for me. I’m off to apply for a job at RPC.

Anonymous

Nice people. Good clients. But clients in markets notorious for paying very low fees such as PI insurers.

HR

All very true. I guess it depends on what makes you tick. A lot of people will be happy to take a lower amount home each month as a trade off for the benefit of working for a genuinely pleasant firm and having a life.

Kronos

We will be upping pay to £250K at the NQ level, as well as increasing trainee intake to 200.

Frankly, our cash reserves are so vast this whole 5G implementation exercise and its health implications is a drop in the ocean to profitability.

Anon

Who’s “we”?

Anon

What a desperate attempt at trying to be funny for attention.

Anon

It’s sad, as this meme wasn’t even funny at its height in 2018.

Anonymous

Sad that someone is so bereft of wit. I reckon he knows he is no longer funny and he tragically is getting kicks out of annoying us. Shows the self-loathing and anger.

Anon

Not even in transactional seats?

Lawyer on the Right

I wouldn’t even bother coming into Criminal defence if the seizure of your car caused you to suffer from mental health issues.

Maybe try conveyancing 🙂

Solicitor

Woah, hold your horses!

You don’t know the guy’s background, I often wonder how students get training contracts with this kind of attitude. You work in a front facing job, please work on your people skills you don’t seem tolerant enough to be a solicitor, try something else.

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