The Court of Appeal has rejected the Metropolitan Police's attempts to overturn damages awarded to a severely autistic epileptic teenager restrained by officers at a public swimming pool in 2008.
"ZH," then aged 16, plunged fully clothed into Acton Baths, west London, and was lifted out and put in handcuffs and leg restraints and held in the back of a police van before being handed over to carers.
ZH sued the police commissioner through his father GH, who said his son had changed from a "loveable little kid into an upset child" who did not want to bathe, shower or go into water.
The police had argued that if the £28,250 award for trespass to the person, assault and battery, and false imprisonment was allowed to stand it would set a dangerous precedent for policing.
But in London today Lord Dyson (Master of the Rolls), sitting with two other judges, rejected the Met's argument saying "nothing could justify the manner in which (the police) restrained ZH."
The officer's actions were "over-hasty," "ill-informed" and "a wholly inappropriate restraint of an epileptic autistic boy took place."
He threw out the Met's submission that to find the force liable interfered with the operational discretion of the police.
"Operational discretion is not sacrosanct," he said. "It cannot be invoked by the police in order to give them immunity from liability for everything that they do."
ZH's solicitors said the case provided "yet another example of a vulnerable person being let down by the criminal justice system, on this occasion at the very highest level.
"If the approach of the Met's chief officer (Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe) is to blame the victim, what hope is there for policing at the front line?"
Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones said: "I hope this ruling will mean the Met never again treats a severely disabled child, or any vulnerable person, in such an inappropriate manner.
"Instead of wasting public money on an expensive court case the Met should have apologised to the boy and his family and paid them the damages they deserve.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond believes himself vindicated by the High Court ruling that his Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) is independent.
A look at the causes and possible outcomes of Silvio Berlusconi and his right-wing coalition's lead in the polls.
Attacks such as yesterday's horrific murder in Woolwich didn't happen before the 'war on terror.' It's time we recognised the consequences of the conflicts we've unleashed