A man from Sydney has been given $3,000 after he was wrongly detained by police for four minutes at Liverpool train station.
Sam Le, 24, was approached by two police officers and asked to show his Opal card, pensioner concession card and photo ID back in January last year. The police thought his identity was fake because he appeared “young and fit” and was “evasive” when asked to show his Opal card. They told him he had to stay put until they could verify his identity.
Mr Le told the District Court that he was on a disability pension, explaining the reason for having a pensioner concession. He waited for four minutes with police while they did a radio check on his ID, which was soon validated and he was allowed to leave.
Mr Le ended up suing the state of NSW for false imprisonment – and won – receiving $3,000 in compensation.
Judge Matthew Dicker said that the policeman’s genuine suspicion regarding Mr Le’s identity was honest, but not reasonable. He confirmed that police don’t have power to demand anything more than a commuter’s Opal card and concession card, unless they have evidence. The judge also said false imprisonment had been established since Le felt like he couldn’t leave.
This is actually the second time Mr Le has sued the state over an incident with police. The first incident, that took place in 2015, was settled out of court.