Squire v Thames Valley Police & Anor (R on the Application of), Court of Appeal - Civil Division, December 21, 2016, [2016] EWCA Civ 1315

Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:Squire v Thames Valley Police & Anor (R on the Application of)
Resolution Date:December 21, 2016
 
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Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWCA Civ 1315

Case No: C1/2015/2756/QBACF/C1/2015/2756(A)/FC3/C1/2015/2756(B)/FC3

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Mr Justice Mitting

[2015] EWHC 3358 (Admin)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 21/12/2016

Before:

LORD JUSTICE GROSS

LADY JUSTICE RAFFERTY DBE

and

LORD JUSTICE FLOYD

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Between:

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Martin Westgate QC and Alexandra Felix (instructed by Slater & Gordon) for the Appellant

David Lock QC and Stephen Morley (instructed by Thames Valley Police Legal Services) for the 1st Respondent

Hearing date: 6th December 2016

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Lady Justice Rafferty:

  1. The Appellant appeals a decision of Mitting J on 29 July 2015 allowing the First Respondent's application for judicial review of a decision of the Police Appeals Tribunal (``PAT'') which had allowed an appeal by the Appellant against a decision of a disciplinary panel (``the panel'') finding him guilty of gross misconduct and dismissing him. The First Respondent cross-appeals, challenging Mitting J's decision to remit the finding on sanction. No procedural step or cited authority was controversial nor was the statutory framework in issue.

  2. This judgment reflects the Master of the Rolls' view that when a decision is on the facts the judgment should be brief, avoiding recitation of the uncontroversial, unnecessary citation, rehearsed argument and detail which adds nothing.

  3. Squire, a police constable of 28 years' service, had no previous findings or disciplinary allegations relating to sexual harassment or bullying. He was promoted to Detective Inspector on 2nd April 2012.

  4. On 10th May 2013 Mrs Jaimie Evans a police staff member complained that Squire had conducted himself towards her in an inappropriate and sexually motivated manner. The central allegation was that he had bullied or harassed her. Of the particulars the most serious was that he pulled her towards him so their groins touched through clothing. Thereafter the gist was that he pestered her.

  5. The panel in the teeth of objection admitted hearsay statements of DC Payne, a witness to be called. She claimed DS Roxburgh told her Squire had made an inappropriate comment/gesture to her; that Kerry Neal said Squire was ``pervy'' and a ``dirty old lech'' staring at her legs; and that DS Wise said Jo Nash complained to him of an inappropriate comment.

  6. Squire submitted this was unfairly prejudicial. Roxburgh, Neal and Wise were to be called and in statements none repeated or supported the comments attributed.

  7. The panel admitted the evidence, declaring any unfairness could be addressed by cross-examination. The panel additionally heard evidence of various other incidents (``the ancillary incidents''), as to which, in the event, it made no mention in its decision.

  8. The panel explained its view of the witnesses:

    ``...[Ms Evans] gave her evidence in a direct manner with no uncertainty and no hesitation. She did not alter her evidence over the course of some seven hours of questioning. Her account of the salient features of each incident was cogent, credible and consistent throughout. She appeared to us to be someone who was doing her best to help us.....We did not find DI Squire to be a convincing witness. He gave answers to questions that were guarded and short. His answers frequently appeared to us to be the product of an analysis of the allegations rather than his simply recounting the facts as he remembered them...in general terms, we prefer her evidence...

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