High Court Rules that IPCC decision in
Warwick University CS Spray
case was 'irrational'
10.00 a.m. Friday 19 August 2016
The High Court has decided that the Independent Police Complaints Commission were ‘irrational’ when they decided that a police officer who discharged CS spray in to the eyes of a student at less than a metre had no case to answer for misconduct. The IPCC’s decision has been quashed and they must reconsider whether the officer should be brought before misconduct proceedings.
Lawrence Green, the Claimant, was represented by Lochlinn Parker, head of the Actions Against the Police department at ITN Solicitors and barrister Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers.
On 3 December 2014 a protest by students at Warwick University was ended after the police attended and used CS spray on students. A number of people were directly targeted or affected by one officer, PC Simon Lloyd, who discharged CS spray on at least three occasions. After a complaint was made by a number of students the IPCC decided to independently investigate the incident. That investigation took over 9 months and concluded that the officer had no case to answer for misconduct. One of the students, Lawrence Green, challenged that decision and made representations to the IPCC highlighting a number of serious flaws in the IPCC investigation, including the failure to question PC Lloyd on the varying accounts he had given attempting to justify his actions. The IPCC refused to review its investigation and a judicial review application was issued. A full hearing took place on 12 July 2016 at the High Court in London in front of Deputy High Court Judge Mr Robin Purchas QC. Mr Purchas QC decided that the IPCC's conclusion that there was no evidence to support a case to answer for misconduct was “not rationally supportable on the objective evidence.”
The Court places a high barrier in front of cases that seek to challenge investigation decisions and so Lawrence Green’s victory is notable in its rarity. It is very disappointing that the IPCC has sought permission to appeal.
Lawrence Green said:"I am very happy with this victory. I hope this judgement provides help to others who find that the supposedly Independent Police Complaints Commission has tried to cover for and justify brutal violence by police officers.”
Lochlinn Parker, the solicitor representing Lawrence Green said:
“The IPCC aims to improve confidence in the police complaints system but in this case where serious deficiencies in the investigation were highlighted and when a High Court judge has decided that their decision was irrational, the IPCC has not sought to acknowledge, let alone fix, the problem. The IPCC is about to have its name changed. This case indicates that much more needs to change if the public are to have confidence in the IPCC and the police complaints system.”
Note to Editors
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