R v A (2020)

Edward Henry QC has just successfully challenged the Appropriate Authority (“AA”) of a major Constabulary, which lost two successive rulings in hard fought proceedings before a Legally Qualified Chair (‘LQC”). In consequence, the AA dropped career ending accusations against Edward’s client.

The Officer, who must remain anonymous, faced misconduct proceedings in respect of deliberately and dishonestly misattributing intelligence, derived it was suspected from an unregistered “CHIS,” to two lesser known criminals, X and Y.

Edward mounted a sustained and determined attack on the AA, targeting shortcomings in its conduct of disclosure (which he labelled “the disclosure debacle”) and defects in its investigation of the Officer. These faults, Edward argued, were diagnostic of an irreparable systemic failure, being endemic from the outset, long before the service of the Officer’s Reg. 22 Notice, which outlined his defence.  

Following disclosure submissions regarding sensitive material, the major part of the case (based upon Y’s anticipated evidence) collapsed. Thereafter, two critical rulings went in favour of the Officer. First, the LQC upheld Edward’s submissions that the AA was wrong to discontinue the disclosure exercise in respect of Y, in spite of his refusal to attend as a witness. The AA maintained that his failure to co-operate meant he “fell away” but the LQC upheld Edward’s argument that non-disclosure in respect of Y was still relevant, not redundant, and capable of amounting to a potential abuse of process. Second, the LQC refused the AA’s application for an adjournment, to analyse the material it had previously deemed irrelevant. The AA, having abandoned the disclosure exercise into Y of its own volition, without first seeking the LQC’s approval, then found itself unable to identify and disclose all the material gathered in respect of Y within the deadline set, and jettisoned the remaining allegations against the Officer made by X.

Edward, instructed by Nick Terry of Burton Copeland, assimilated a case of acute sensitivity, which had to be conducted under conditions of formidable secrecy. In close conjunction with Nick, he devised an effective strategy that homed in relentlessly upon the AA’s vulnerabilities. The case, in terms of the substantive Law, the evidence, and procedure, involved complex issues of Police Law, including many relating to European Jurisprudence, and the extent to which the CPIA applies to Police Disciplinary Tribunals.

After these proceedings weighing heavily upon him for several years, the Officer was delighted and relieved to be totally exonerated.

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