A TOP judge will rule on whether Lord Hanningfield was wrongfully arrested.

The disgraced peer has sued Essex Police for unlawful arrest and trespass after officers raided his home at dawn in an investigation over his County Hall expenses.

Lord Hanningfield, real name Paul White, was arrested in September 2011 just five days after being released from prison after serving nine weeks of nine-month jail term for fraud over his parliamentary expenses.

Mark Spragg, lawyer for the former county council leader, said: “The question for the court is was the arrest necessary, and if it was not then it was unlawful. It is for the judge to decide.

“It is difficult to say if we will win but it is an important point. The court will naturally want to side with the police but I hope they will see through that and decide there was no need to arrest him.

“He co-operated fully with the House of Lords expenses investigation and had they asked him he would have gone along for an interview about the county council claims.

“The police could have approached him in prison but instead they took six people to arrest him with a blaze of glory.”

His two-day hearing started in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in London this morning.

Former pig farmer Lord Hanningfield has also asked for up to £6,500 in damages and legal fees.

Essex Police said it would be inappropriate to comment until legal proceedings ended.