Coronavirus: Charity worker challenges ‘unlawful’ lockdown fine

Coronavirus: Charity worker challenges 'unlawful' lockdown fine

Kusai Rahal

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Charity worker Kusai Rahal was fined after attending the arrest of a teenager

A youth support worker is launching a legal challenge against a fine issued to him by police for breaking lockdown rules.

Kusai Rahal was given the fixed penalty notice in April when he attended the arrest of a teenager in London in his capacity as a charity worker.

His lawyer said the case raised “serious concerns” about how lockdown laws were being policed.

The Met said it had been “proportionate” when enforcing rules.

Mr Rahal was fined on 12 April, the same day as Dominic Cummings controversially drove to Barnard Castle, when lockdown regulations prevented people leaving their homes without a listed “reasonable excuse”.

In a pre-action letter sent to the Met on Monday his lawyer, Sarah Flanagan, said he should not have been fined because the law exempted people who were travelling for work.

According to the letter, the 22-year-old attended an incident in north London where a teenager, referred to as Z, had been arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs.

Mr Rahal, head of community support at the charity 4Front, had been called by a friend of Z to act as an appropriate adult – a legal guardian for minors.

He identified himself as a youth worker on arrival, but was subsequently arrested himself for failing to produce a driver’s licence as a requested form of ID.

Police did not take further action, but he was issued with a fine for breaking lockdown rules.

Ms Flanagan argues Mr Rahal did have a “reasonable excuse” for being outside his home as his support work required him to attend incidents in person and, as a key worker, he was not subject to the same lockdown restrictions.

A list of critical workers published by the government includes “charities and workers delivering key frontline services”.

Further action

Ms Flanagan told the BBC the policing of the lockdown regulations had raised “significant issues” and Mr Rahal’s case was an “example of the rushed, overzealous application of the coronavirus regulations”.

Mr Rahal’s legal team says they are also looking to take further action on whether he had been racially discriminated against, depending on the outcome of the legal action.

Statistics from the Met show disproportionate numbers of ethnic minority groups have been fined under lockdown rules.

In a statement the Met said it had “adopted a proportionate approach to the enforcement of breaches of the Covid-19 legislation from the outset”.

It added: “It has set out to engage, explain and then encourage people to adhere to the regulations. It is only when this approach has been unsuccessful that enforcement has been necessary.”


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