Kieth Culvin, from Spirit of Shankly, was accused of assaulting a police officer but the case was dropped after damning video footage was shown in court proving the police lied
Kieth Culvin, a committee member of Liverpool FC supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly, brought civil action against Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and was awarded a four figure sum. The compensation was agreed last year, with Kieth’s ordeal made public on September 11th through a blog on The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) website.
Spirit of Shankly members had met with senior officers from GMP before the game when it was agreed Liverpool fans would still be allowed access to the toilets in the event they were held back from entering the concourse after the game. Liverpool lost the match one-nil with fans kept back afterwards. Despite the prior agreement with police, supporters were not allowed to access the toilets, which angered fans.
He alleges that once on the concourse he was pushed against a wall by a police officer and punched in the back before being handcuffed. After being charged with assaulting a police officer, Mr Culvin approached The Football Supporters’ Federation for legal support.
The video footage captured by his fellow fan [watch the footage below] was shown in the first court hearing where the prosecution realised there was no case to answer. Several days later he was notified all charges had been dropped. Mr Culvin still felt aggrieved and sought further advice from the FSF and Deighton Pierce Glynn, a law firm which specialises in actions against the police. He brought civil action against GMP and financial compensation was paid to him.
Mr Culvin said:
It’s wrong that this might happen to anyone but once the charges were dropped I wanted to take this matter further and have my day in court to clear my name. Sadly, the only feasible avenue available was to pursue them for compensation and not challenge them legally.
“I think the outcome vindicates myself – I did nothing wrong. My worry is that other supporters might not know they can pursue these matters further if it happens to them. I think more should, as that is the only way we will get behaviour changed and as supporters be treated properly. I’ve still continued to meet with GMP to discuss policing of supporters at Old Trafford and thankfully no other issues like this have occurred so far.”
Amanda Jacks, case officer at FSF, wrote on the federation’s blog: “Kieth was motivated by the almost certain knowledge that without the mobile footage, he would have been convicted of a serious offence for which one of the penalties could have been a custodial sentence.
“Simply, he wanted the officer to be held accountable for his traumatic experience and the only way he could make this happen was by bringing civil action against GMP and financial compensation being paid to him.”
Darren White, a solicitor at Deighton Pierce Glynn, said: “What we said was the police officer made it up but what the force said was that he made a genuine mistake and thought he was pushed.
“I think the lesson to be learnt is that football supporters have to speak out if they feel mistreated by police.”
The police refused to comment.