Justice Walter Sofronoff granted Richard Scott Walker’s claim for appeal. Picture: Liam Kidston
Justice Walter Sofronoff granted Richard Scott Walker’s claim for appeal. Picture: Liam Kidston

Man detained after visiting dying father wins appeal

A man who was detained after visiting his dying father in hospital has been granted to claim damages for false imprisonment in the Court of Appeal.

Richard Scott Walker has appealed against a jury's decision in the District Court after it threw out his claim for false imprisonment.

He wants to sue the State for damages after officers repeatedly refused to let him return to his father in time for a palliative care meeting.

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Documents from the Court of Appeal show Mr Walker had just visited his dying father at Sunshine Coast University Hospital when he decided to drive to a 7-Eleven petrol station on Nicklin Way, Kawana, to buy cigarettes and settle himself just after 9.30am on September 10, 2014.

A meeting with a palliative care team was scheduled for 10am.

"He was in a distressed state," the court documents said.

Two police officers, only named as Senior Constable Ahrens and Constable Brett in the documents, pulled over Mr Walker after the car he was driving lost traction during a U-turn.

Mr Walker was issued with a traffic infringement notice and he had his car impounded for 90 days.

He was also detained until the tow truck arrived and removed the car despite Mr Walker repeatedly pleading to return to his father.

"If you attempt to go, you will be arrested," one of the officers said according to the court documents.

A magistrate found Mr Walker not guilty of the charge.

A jury voted in favour of the State during a claim for damages for false imprisonment in the District Court before Mr Walker appealed this decision.

In its defence in the Court of Appeal, the State argued Mr Walker was free to go no later than 11.19am when the car was placed onto a tow truck and left and all necessary documents had been delivered by hand.

"The plaintiff ordinarily resided in Brisbane meaning that from a practical perspective the only time to personally serve the plaintiff with the impounding notice was whilst he was at the scene," the defendant said.

However, Judge Walter Sofronoff said there was no legal obligation to deliver a notice by hand.

In his decision, handed down last month, he found Mr Walker could claim for damages for false imprisonment and the respondent pay the applicant's costs of the appeal.


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