Back to Legal Case Studies

Police Officers Awarded Damages for Libel by Own Bosses

09 June 2015

Slater and Gordon Lawyers represented two police officers who were libelled on live radio by one of their bosses.

Case Value: £25,000

What happened:

Miss Kelly and Mr Jones had been dismissed in October 2013 as a result of an incident in which they tasered Kyle McArdle in the back of a police van. He had been arrested after an officer saw him urinating in an alley in full public view, and a confrontation with the police had followed.

However, they were reinstated on appeal in June 2014 when the Police Appeals Tribunal concluded that the findings of the misconduct panel had been unreasonable and unfair.

When Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Ward appeared on BBC Radio Merseyside a month later he was asked what his force had learnt following the sacking of the officers for the taser attack.

Instead of correcting the interviewer and saying Miss Kelly and Mr Jones had been reinstated he said the incident “demonstrated his force would not tolerate inappropriate use of tasers”.

Impact:

Miss Kelly and Mr Jones retired on medical grounds in March this year as a consequence of these events.

How Slater and Gordon Lawyers helped:

In a statement read out in at the Royal Courts, Head of Libel at Slater and Gordon, who acted for Jones and Kelly, said:

“By doing so, he suggested not only that Joanne Kelly and Simon Jones remained sacked from the force, but also that their case was a prime example of conduct which Merseyside Police would not tolerate. These inaccurate statements caused very significant damage, distress and embarrassment to both Joanne Kelly and Simon Jones as they felt greatly injured and betrayed by them. They now understand that ACC Ward says he did not intend to convey those statements about them.”

Decision:

The Chief Constable of Merseyside apologised to the officers, who were awarded £25,000 in damages.
Related practice area:

Media, Libel & Privacy
Breach of Confidence
Data Protection Law

If you have any questions about the above case study or would like to speak with a Media, Libel & Privacy Solicitor, call us for a consultation on 0800 916 9081 or contact us online.