Four police officers who were involved in the arrest of Babar Ahmad have won the right to seek damages after the Court of Appeal ruled they can sue the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
BBC News reports that the officers accused the Met of “letting them down badly” by not defending them against claims they beat Ahmad.
In March 2009 the Met paid £60,000 to Ahmad after admitting he had been subjected to an attack. The Met initially denied Ahmad’s claim that he was punched, kicked and throttled during his December 2003 arrest.
However, lawyers for the then commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted at the High Court that Ahmad had been the victim of “gratuitous and sustained violence” at his home in Tooting, south-west London.
In 2011 the four officers – PCs Rod James-Bowen, Nigel Cowley, Mark Jones and Det Con John Donohue – were charged over the assault, but were later acquitted.
Babar Ahmad was jailed for over 12 years in the UK and US after setting up a website which supported jihad. He spent the majority of that time in jail without being charged with any crime.
The officers’ initial claim for damages was rejected by the High Court. But on appeal judges ruled the four were entitled to bring their claim “for economic and reputational harm based on a breach of a duty of care at common law.”
The appeal judges said the officers were claiming the commissioner breached a duty of care when he admitted liability over Ahmad and made a public apology.
The court heard the commissioner’s admission of liability “unfairly branded them as abusive thugs” resulting in “the stress of a criminal trial and damage to their prospects of promotion.”