Court Due To Rule on Stop & Search


The Court of Appeal is to rule today on a challenge over the legality of random stop-and-search powers aimed at tackling street violence.

The Metropolitan Police have been accused of breaching human rights laws by using the controversial powers against a disproportionately high number of black Londoners.

Ann Juliette Roberts, 39, of Upper Edmonton, north London, claims that the powers allowing ”searches without justification” were discriminatory on the grounds of race and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

She became involved in a row with police on September 2010 after a ticket inspector discovered there were insufficient funds on her Oyster to pay her fare after she boarded a number 149 bus.

According to the police, she lied about her details and was uncooperative and behaved in a suspicious manner.

A police officer called to the scene thought she might be concealing a knife in her bag and she was subjected to a search under section 60 of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

She was arrested after obstructing the search and handcuffed but had to be taken to the ground when she continued to resist. No weapons were found.

Mrs Roberts, who was of good character, received a caution which was later quashed.

The police had been authorised to use section 60 powers, which allow ”random” searches, in the Haringey area because of gangland violence involving the use of weapons.

Mrs Roberts, a black woman with an African-Caribbean heritage and a grown-up son, applied for a judicial review but two High Court judges ruled the police had acted lawfully and section 60 did not breach human rights.

She has now asked Lord Justice Maurice Kay, Lady Justice Rafferty and Lady Justice Macur to rule the High Court has gone wrong in law.