A shoplifter who claimed he was left suicidal after being tasered by police has lost his case, with a High Court judge concluding that he was “squaring up for a fight”.
Paul McClelland sought damages against Chief Constable Giles York of Sussex Police after he was hit with a stun gun as officers attempted to apprehend him in a Brighton car park in July 2013.
The 42-year-old, who was pursued by police for shoplifting in a Sainsbury’s and assaulting a security guard, claimed excessive forced had been used against him when he was surrendering.
He said the incident left him feeling suicidal.
An internal police investigation rejected the allegation and concluded that McClelland was a danger to the officers and the public.
Throwing out the case at Brighton County Court, High Court judge Jonathan Simpkiss said McClelland had “considerable antipathy” towards the police and was “squaring up for a fight”.
He said it was “quite clear the claimant posed a threat to officers”.
McClelland’s solicitor Sophie Khan called the decision “bizarre” and “perverse” and said he was considering an appeal.
“Paul is very disappointed,” she said. “The findings don’t make any sense compared to the evidence.
“If you look at the CCTV the man has his arms in the air in a surrender pose. It’s perverse.”
In footage from a camera worn by PC Charlotte Grant, a shirtless McClelland is seen with officers in the car park.
PC Grant shouts: “Get on the floor, there is a red dot on your chest.”
“Taser, Taser, Taser,” the officer then shouts as the stun gun is used.
In the clip, McClelland can be seen falling to the ground before another officer kicks him in the leg.
PC Grant says: “There are two barbs in your back, which will be removed. There will be no lasting effects from the Taser.”
McClelland was asked how he was feeling after he was handcuffed. He was later convicted of theft, common assault and admitted obstructing a police officer, and was given a community order.
According to court papers, he admitted he was drunk during the incident and that he wanted to “fight them all” as he was confronted by officers.
Judge Simpkiss said it was “objectively reasonable” for the officers to use a Taser and that McClelland was not seriously injured.
The judge said there was no evidence to support claims about any psychological trauma.