4 Mar 2015

Nine year legal battle lost

1:41 pm on 4 March 2015

A veteran campaigner for the rights of the disabled has lost a nine year legal battle that began with a police raid on his home in Dunedin in 2006.

Bruce Van Essen's house and that of a colleague were raided after ACC alleged the pair had fraudulently claimed ACC benefits.

That raid resulted in a complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority, which found fault with the way it was carried out.

Mr Van Essen then went to the High Court alleging unreasonable search and seizure, and was awarded $10,000 in damages for breaches of the Bill of Rights Act.

This was then appealed by the Attorney General, who said it was too much, and by Mr Van Essen, who said it was not enough.

There was also a wave of other appeals and cross appeals on several matters including court costs.

Mr Van Essen lost most of these along with the award of damages.

This was because the Court of Appeal found statutory immunity gave police and their agents protection against being sued after police action had taken place unless bad faith was proved.

The court ruled bad faith had not been established in this case.

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