False imprisonment of young people class action

Related Project: Policing and Detention

August 11, 2016

In 2011, PIAC and law firm Maurice Blackburn commenced a class action on behalf of a number of young people. The case started after PIAC became aware that many children and young people were being wrongly arrested and detained (sometimes overnight) as a result of inaccuracies in the Police computer database COPS (Computer Operational Policing System).

The problem stemmed from inaccurate or out of date information on COPS.  For more than five years prior to commencing the class action, PIAC had been urging the NSW Government to fix the problems with COPS.

One of PIAC’s fourteen-year-old clients was arrested, handcuffed and strip-searched on three separate occasions over a two-week period. He was held in custody overnight on each occasion.

The bail conditions he was arrested for allegedly breaching did not exist at the time of the arrests, but showed up as current on COPS.

After more than four years, the parties reached a settlement agreement on 31 July 2015. In February 2016, the Supreme Court approved the settlement proposal, which paved the way for the young people affected to be compensated. Compensation of more than $1.85 million was paid to the young people affected.