A 21-year-old man was wrongly convicted and fined £60 under new coronavirus laws, Britain’s largest police force has admitted.
The case of a 15-year-old boy, who was also charged under the Coronavirus Act 2020, is being reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The PA news agency raised concerns with the Metropolitan Police about how the law had been applied in cases identified in an analysis of available London magistrates’ court lists.
UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch said it was “astonishing” the legislation is still being misused.
The Coronavirus Act, which came into force last month, allows officers to remove or detain a “suspected infectious person” for screening and assessment with “reasonable force” if necessary.
Police were given separate powers to break up gatherings and fine people breaching restriction of movement rules under the Health Protection Regulations 2020.
A 21-year-old man, who PA has chosen not to name as he faces outstanding charges, was arrested outside Tooting Leisure Centre on Saturday March 28.
He was later charged with possession of Class B drugs, going equipped to steal and acting contrary to paragraph 23(1)(a) and (2) of schedule 21 to the Coronavirus Act.
He pleaded guilty to all offences two days later at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court and was fined £200 for possession of drugs and £60 for the offence under the Coronavirus Act.