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Regina (Green) v Police Complaints Authority & Others H.C.

22 January 2002
The issues

Complaint against Police Officers – disclosure of statements by Complaints Authority.

The facts

The Claimant sought a judicial review of the refusal by the Police Complaints Authority on 3rd April 2001 to disclose witnesses statements made during the Police Authority’s investigations of a complaint that the Police Officer and others had caused the complainant serious injury when they chased and ran over him in an unmarked Police vehicle. The Authority relied on Section 80(i)(a) Police Act 1996 providing that no information received by the Authority in connection with their function should be disclosed to any other person except “so far as may be necessary for the proper discharge of the functions of the Authority”.

The decision

In order to read Section 80 in a way which was compliant with the European Convention of Human Rights and in particular the Claimant’s right to life under Article 2 and is right not to be subjected to in-human or degrading treatment under Article 3, Section 80 had to be read in a way which ensured disclosure of documents allowing the Claimant to take part fully in the investigative process. This over-rode any principles of confidentiality. Police reports and comments should not be disclosed but he was entitled to comment on the factual accounts of the same incident provided by eye witnesses. Disclosure should be made on the basis that it was only for the purpose of reviewing the complainant’s comments and not for disclosure to others. The application succeeded.

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