Metropolitan Police pay out to student photographer following Terrorism Act stop and search

Italian student, Simona Bonomo was filming modern buildings in Merchant Square W2 in November 2009 as part of an art project when she was stopped by two Police Community Support Officers who demanded to see her footage in reliance on Terrorism Act powers.

The situation ended in Ms Bonomo’s arrest and prosecution after Metropolitan police officers were called to the scene.

Less than one month before her case was due to be heard in the High Court the Metropolitan Police have settled her claim for breach of human rights, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Ms Bonomo said  “I am pleased with the settlement but money alone does not erase what happened and I am left with consternation that the systems in place to protect citizens from police brutality do not work.  There has been no apology and I am still waiting for the Professional Standards Department to complete their investigation of my complaint”

Beth Handley, Ms Bonomo’s solicitor at Hickman and Rose said:

“It is appalling that members of the public  in London cannot take photographs of the architecture without running the risk of arrest, detention and criminal charges.  Simona Bonomo should never have gone through this ordeal.  Powers under the Terrorism Act are draconian and should only be used where there is genuine suspicion of terrorist activity.  With the Olympics rapidly approaching we hope that the Metropolitan Police and all other security personnel pay careful attention to the lessons of this case”.