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Home      Sacco v Chief Constable of South Wales
 
Sacco v Chief Constable of South Wales [1998] EWCA Civ 843 Court of Appeal

The Claimant was drunk and had been arrested. He jumped out of a moving police van whilst being transported to the police station. He brought an action for the injuries sustained.

Held:

The Claimant was not entitled to recover.

Schiemann LJ:
"There is, we are told, no case in which it has been established that a person in this situation is entitled to recover damages from the police. We are being asked to create a precedent to that effect. I see no reason why we should do so, but there is a number of reasons for my reluctance to give this plaintiff any relief. First, he seems to me to be guilty of his own misfortune. He did something which he knew or must be taken to have known was dangerous. In so far as his appreciation of the dangers involved was lessened by his intake of alcohol that was also his own fault.
Second, he was engaged in a criminal act, namely attempting to escape from lawful custody. As a matter of legal policy, I see no reason to permit a man to recover damages against the police if he hurts himself as part of that illegal enterprise. The basis of such recovery must be either an allegation of a breach of duty owed to him not to let him escape, or of a duty owed to him to take care that he does not hurt himself if he tries to escape. I see no reason to create such a duty owed to him. It is common ground the policy of the law is not to permit one criminal to recover damages from a fellow criminal who fails to take care of him whilst they are both engaged in a criminal enterprise. The reason for that rule is not the law's tenderness towards the criminal defendant, but the law's unwillingness to afford a criminal plaintiff a remedy in such circumstances. I see no reason why that unwillingness should be any less because a defendant is a policeman and not engaged in any crime".
 
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