QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE NEWMAN
|ERIC HOBSON and IRENE HOBSON and LYNSEY HOBSON||(APPELLANTS)|
|CHIEF CONSTABLE OF THE CHESHIRE CONSTABULARY||(RESPONDENT)|
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MR MATTHEW DUNFORD (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"The door was opened by Eric Hobson. PC Deponeo was in uniform and told Eric Hobson that he was there to speak to his son and PC Deponeo was allowed to enter whilst Eric Hobson asked PC Rice to wait outside. The allegations of obstructing the police were said to have occurred after PC Deponeo told Steven Hobson he was being arrested for an offence of criminal damage.
"PC Rice in her evidence confirmed that she and her colleague attended at the property to arrest Steven Hobson and that she initially waited on the step as Eric Hobson would not let her in. She stated that she had previous dealings with the family. She stated that she later arrested Steven Hobson for unlawfully taking a motor vehicle without consent."
"(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section ... Constable may enter and search any premises for the purpose ... (b) of arresting a person for an arrestable offence.
(2) The powers of entry or search conferred by this section (a) are only exercisable if the Constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the person whom he is seeking is on the premises ... (4) the power of search conferred by this section is only a power to search to the extent that it is reasonably required for the purpose for which the entry is exercised ... ".
"We were of the opinion that PC Deponeo was invited into the premises by Eric Hobson and there was no need for the officers to enter the premises without consent under section 17 and/or section 117 of PACE ... In our opinion there was no need for us to scrutinise the sufficiency of the reason for entry given by PC Deponeo given that the entry was by consent. We do not believe that the officers' actions were in any way covert and that Eric Hobson was able to make an informed decision whether to allow PC Deponeo into the premises. Given previous dealings between the Hobson family and police we believe it would have been self-evident to Eric Hobson why they wished to speak to his son."
" ... to comply with the requirements of s.17 of PACE the Police Officers in this case should, when exercising their power to enter premises under s.17 (and s.117 if forced entry is subsequently required), unless the circumstance make it impossible, impracticable or undesirable, give any occupant present the reason for his exercising that power of entry."
"But where the occupiers are present and are actually in some sort of conversation with the police even when, as here, it was irrational and abusive on the part of the plaintiff and his wife, it seems to me that the basic law applies to that situation. The police, who have a right of entry, must announce what that right is before they attempt to use force. To act otherwise in these circumstances it seems to me is unreasonable ... I am not saying that necessarily the word 'arrest' should have been used, some other wording in current usage, such as 'nicked' would have been sufficient, but in my judgment to say that they wanted to come to talk to the O'Loughlins was not sufficient to indicate that they were exercising a right to enter his house."