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Met apologises to photojournalist

25 February 2008

NUJ member Marc Vallée has accepted an apology and out-of-court settlement from the Metropolitan Police for "battery" (assault) and breaches of the Human Rights Act, relating to freedom of expression and assembly.

The photojournalist was taking pictures of the "Sack Parliament" protest in Parliament Square on October 9, 2006. He was injured during an incident involving Metropolitan Police officers and treated at St Thomas’ hospital.

He has received a written apology and an out-of-court settlement and his legal costs will also be paid by the police.

Chez Cotton, Marc Vallée’s solicitor, said:

"This was an extremely unpleasant incident. Neither the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or his officers has any legal power, moral responsibility or political responsibility to prevent or restrict what the media record.
"Mr Vallée is a well-respected photojournalist, lawfully present to photograph a political protest outside parliament, yet he was brutally prevented from doing so by the police."

Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:

"Marc will be pleased to have finally got an apology from the police, but it is no cause for celebration. It is disgraceful that the police brutally obstructed a member of the press from reporting on a political demonstration.
"Press freedom is a central tenet of our democracy so Marc Vallée’s treatment by the police is deeply worrying. The Met needs to take a close look at what must be done to ensure its officers respect journalists’ rights."

Tags: , metropolitan police, marc vallée, protests, apology, journalists assaulted, human rights act