Ciaran Shiels, of Madden and Finucane, said the 27-year-old is still devastated by the experience, which included the issuing by the PSNI’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force of a statement linking the arrest to the INLA and drugs.
Mr Shiels described the arrest and questioning as a “sham”.
A letter before action will be sent to the PSNI as soon as possible warning the force of a legal claim if there is no reply, Mr Shiels added.
The woman was arrested in her city centre workplace mid morning on Tuesday.
Two police Land Rovers and two police cars along with a dog handler and dog were involved in the operation, Mr Shiels said.
Her home where she lives with her father and brother was also raided by police. Four mobile phones were taken and have not yet returned.
In response to claims of heavy handedness in the arrest and the issuing of a police statement, a PSNI spokesperson said: “As the investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
The woman was arrested “on suspicion of Being Concerned in the Supply of a Class B controlled drug”, said a PSNI statement on Tuesday. She was released on police bail.
Mr Shiels said she was under formal caution and in the interview room for just 11 minutes on Tuesday afternoon. The solicitor has linked the arrest to a bail hearing for her half brother on Monday.
Derry Daily first reported about her arrest on Wednesday.
In a statement issued that day, Mr Shiels condemned the operation as “a distasteful and deplorable abuse of powers that are entrusted to police on condition that they are deployed responsibly and proportionately in combating crime affecting society.”
Added Mr Shiels: “The true position at this time this afternoon, was that our client already was released from police custody at 2.09pm and was being driven home from Strand Road Police station to recover from her ordeal and to be with her family.
“This 27 year old woman is an experienced and well-respected dental nurse who has worked for a number of years in a city centre practice extremely proximate to Strand Road.
“She has no criminal record. She has never been involved in criminality. Until this morning, she had never been in a police station, much less been arrested or interviewed under caution.
“At 10.30 am this morning officers from the PSNI arrived outside the dental surgery in two landrovers and two police cars. A dog and a dog handler stood outside the surgery and traffic was disrupted in the City Centre.
“In front of bemused patients and colleagues, our client was singled out by officers. She was dressed in her dental scrubs and was assisting a dentist with a patient in treatment.
“Her nearby car was searched and she was then arrested in tears (not under Terrorist Legislation) under the ordinary provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act and brought to Strand Road.
“Her family home where she resides with her elderly father and brother was then also searched by a unit of the same officers.
“A number of mobile phones and two USB devices belonging to herself and family members were seized. Nothing at all of an incriminatory nature was found by police, either on her person, her vehicle, her home or her workplace.
“This operation yielded no drugs, no paraphernalia, no tick-lists, no cash, no wrappings, no scales and certainly nothing indicating support for the INLA or any paramilitary gang. She was interviewed under caution for exactly 11 minutes (13.57 to 14.08).
“Six minutes of that interview was taken up with the normal introductions, reading of the caution and normal introductory statements from the police and defence solicitor.
“Police then commenced the interview by asking “Q. Can you tell us why you are here?…”
“Every single question thereafter asked of her was answered in full. Complete assistance was offered and provided by her to police.
“Not a single shred of incriminatory evidence was referred to. Not a single allegation of any kind was put to her, and at no stage whatsoever, was the INLA or any terrorist or organised crime group (OCG) even mentioned.
“At the same time other more senior members of this unit were drafting and disseminating their libellous statement to the public attacking her character in the most obscene, obsequious and unfair manner.
“Even at the point of her release police did not give her the basic warning or courtesy of informing her that this statement had been released to the public concerning her ordeal.
“We strongly suspect that this arrest and media publicity operation was ordered following the release on bail of a significantly older half-brother of our client late on Monday after a particularly contentious bail application.
“In that matter Deputy District Judge O’Hare was extremely critical of inaccurate information provided to him by the PSNI PCTF and bail was granted on strict conditions, notwithstanding the police objections.
“However, to arrest a woman with no criminal record, from her place of work where she is a well respected health care professional wholly unconnected to criminality of any kind, and to then denigrate her good name in the most egregious way, is to be condemned and deplored.
SDLP Colum Eastwood said he will be raising the issue with the PSNI.
One of the concerns was the issuing of a “public statement which appears to bear no resemblance to the facts”, Mr Eastwood said.
“I will be raising the matter directly with the PSNI,” added the Foyle MP.Tags: