22 Oct 2008

Court reserves decision in pepper spray case

8:36 pm on 22 October 2008

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision over whether or not a man seeking damages from the Police should have his case heard by a jury or by a judge alone.

Michael Gregory was unlawfully detained and pepper-sprayed by police some years ago.

Auckland police officers who were investigating a burglary went to Mr Gregory's home, where they pepper-sprayed and arrested him.

The charges were later dropped.

A police disciplinary report found that Mr Gregory's arrest was unlawful and the use of pepper spray had been unnecessary.

Since then Mr Gregory has been seeking exemplary damages, but earlier High Court hearings found that the case should be heard by a judge, rather than by a judge and jury.

His lawyers on Wednesday asked the Court of Appeal to overturn those rulings.

Lawyers for the officers say the earlier judges' decisions were correct.