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Hudgell Solicitors™ | Case Stories | Force admits wrongly handing magistrate police warning, causing suspension

Force admits wrongly handing magistrate police warning, causing suspension

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Humberside Police apologised to a magistrate who was suspended from duty after being given a police warning notice for alleged harassment.

The force apologised in writing to the Magistrate, admitting the notice should never have been issued and that his name would have been cleared completely had they fully investigated the allegations made against him.

Officers had looked to bring a swift conclusion to an ongoing dispute between the Magistrate and the former employee of a business he was involved in, when she made allegations of harassment against him.

Issuing him with a Police Information Notice (PIN) to prevent him from ‘harassing’ her further for money he claimed was owed to the company, the move led him being suspended from duty by the Lord Chief Justice’s Department.

However, following an appeal, the force has apologised for its actions as officers issued the notice without ever fully examining the content of all 20 emails sent by the Magistrate to the woman, and 13 emails sent by the woman in reply.

It accepted that had officers initially involved with the matter after the allegation was made, or a high-ranking officer who handled the initial stage of the appeal, checked the actual content of all email exchanges, it would have been discovered that the communication could not be construed as ‘threatening or abusive’.

The force also deleted the record of the notice being issued against the Magistrate so that it will no longer show up on any future background checks.

Andy Petherbridge, who acted for the magistrate, wrote to Humberside Police alleging that the action taken bythe force was a breach of his client’s Human Rights

Mr Petherbridge said: “This was a situation which could have been entirely avoided had the police actually gone about their duties as expected and fully investigated the allegations against our client.

“For them it was probably another case ticked off the list as having being dealt with once the penalty notice was issued, but for our client it resulted in him being unnecessarily suspended from his position as a Magistrate.

“The police have a duty of care to investigate serious allegations against people fully, both for the alleged victim, and the accused. It was damaging to our clients’ reputation, both in legal circles and in the business community, as he was unfairly tagged with being someone who harasses people through the issuing of the notice, when the police then admitted that not to be the case.”

The Author

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Andrew Petherbridge

Lawyer and Head of Civil Liberties


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