By Dominic Ponsford and Sarah Limbrick
A Daily Mail reporter has launched a £50,000 damages claim after
being locked up for 20 hours by police while investigating voter fraud.
He has also issued a court order forcing Dorset Police to return
computer equipment and other items seized when police raided his home
in the early hours of the morning, disturbing his wife and young child.
Christian Gysin was arrested on 23 April while carrying out an investigation into voter fraud.
was collared by police after he travelled to an address in Dorset to
pick up a voting card registered in the name of Gus Troubev, an anagram
of ‘bogus voter’.
Daily Mail managing editor Charles Garside said
executives were “surprised by the police reaction as our reporter
immediately identified himself as a bona fide journalist”.
the latest in a succession of journalists to face detainment and
criminal proceedings whilst carrying out a public interest
investigation (see box).
But he is the first, with the backing of his paper, to launch a civil action against the police in response.
is seeking damages, aggravated damages and exemplary damages from the
chief constable of Dorset Police. He is claiming unlawful arrest and
His action includes issues under article
eight of the Human Rights Act 1998 which deals with the right to
respect for private and family life.
He hopes to win damages of between £15,000 and £50,000.
IN THE DOCK
Gary Wright, The People
Wright was locked up for more than 20 hours by police after being
arrested posing outside Buckingham Palace with a police warrant card he
had bought on the internet. He accused the police of being malicious
after they also searched his house and seized private property,
disturbing his wife and child. In July 2004 he was acquitted by a judge
who said he was satisifed Wright was acting in the public interest.
David McGee, News of the World
In December 2003 the News of the World’s David McGee was charged
with the obscure offence of taking a camera into a prison following his
undercover investigation into security failings at Woodhill maximum
security prison, where Ian Huntley was being held. He was acquitted at
trial in April after the judge said his investigation revealed a matter
of “huge public concern”.
Wayne Veysey,Evening Standard
In June 2003, charges were thrown out by a judge against Evening
Standard reporter Wayne Veysey. Police charged him with attempting to
obtain remuneration by deception after he used false references to get
a job as a cleaner at Heathrow Airport.
The judge ruled that this investigation was “clearly in the public
interest” and Standard bosses branded his arrest a “ludicrous waste of
taxpayers’ money and police time”.