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Actions Against The Police

Actions against the police claim and police complaint for negligence: P.D.-v- Chief Constable of Merseyside Police


David Phillips and Partners solicitors ensured an innocent man recovered damages for his action against the police claim and a full apology from Merseyside Police following a police complaint due to the defamatory publication of his photograph in a leading regional newspaper.

On 8th July 2006 the Liverpool Echo published a story describing the conviction of 5 people for the importation and supply of Class A drugs. The body of the article described a “large scale criminal conspiracy” involving a “plan to flood the streets of Merseyside with heroin and cocaine worth £2.5 million”. The article showed 5 photographs of the people it said were involved. One of them was P.D.

The photograph of P.D. described him as ‘heroin courier Abdul Choudhry of Greenbank Road, Mossley Hill, Liverpool (who) was jailed for 5 ½ years after admitting possessing the drug with intent to supply”.

P.D. was not Abdul Choudhry.

The publication damaged P.D.’s reputation. He was recognised by people in his neighbourhood as the person in the Liverpool Echo article and was confronted in the street about the allegation. Some people naturally concluded that he was guilty of the offences and were abusive to him. Others thought that he had escaped from prison or had been released in exchange for information or co-operation, which made P.D. fear for his safety.

As a result of the article and the error in publishing his picture, P.D.’s psychological state was damaged, adding distress to a pre-existing anxiety disorder.

P.D. contacted David Phillips and Partners solicitors for advice. We concluded that he had an action against the police for defamation, breach of human rights and negligence, and made a formal police complaint on his behalf.

We also filed a claim and obtained an admission of liability from Merseyside Police together with an apology for the police complaint.  The police offered just £250 compensation in respect of the action against the police claim, which P.D. rightly rejected.

David Phillips and Partners solicitors ultimately settled P.D.’s action against the police claim for £3250.00 together with full legal costs.

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