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Solicitor won settlement for pensioner in action against Gwent Police
Who? Nogah Ofer, 45, solicitor specialising in actions against the police at London firm Bhatt Murphy.
Why is she in the news? Won a £20,000 out-of-court settlement for a 73-year-old client after officers from Gwent Police smashed windows and caused other damage to his car. Retired businessman Robert Whatley was pulled over in his Range Rover for driving without a seatbelt in September 2009. Video footage obtained by the police, but later posted on YouTube, shows one officer smashing a side window, while another jumps on to the car’s bonnet and kicks the windscreen.
Whatley was found guilty of driving without a seatbelt and of failing to stop for the police. He was fined £235. Whatley said that he sued the police ‘as a matter of principle’. He received £20,000 damages, plus £9,800 for repairs to his car.
A Gwent Police spokesman said that, following internal disciplinary proceedings, the two officers had been cleared of any wrongdoing. He said: ‘While maintaining our position that we do not admit liability, a decision was made to settle the matter out of court on financial grounds.’
Thoughts on the case: ‘This case shows up the police disciplinary system... findings in their disciplinary hearings are hugely at variance with those in public hearings - which is why the police settle so many before they come to court.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘To help people fight the powers that be - I like to think the police groan when they hear my voice on the phone.’
Career high: ‘A 2005 victory in the House of Lords that opened the way for claimants to obtain disclosure of similar complaints made against the police officer in their case.’