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Ahmed v West Yorkshire Police in the High Court (OBD50001)

Mr Kashif Ahmed, a former police officer, sued West Yorkshire Police in the High Court in Leeds. The hearing took place between 29th April 2013 and 10th May 2013. HHJ Gosnell described Kashif Ahmed as:

The Claimant has represented himself throughout these proceedings and he is an educated and articulate man with both a law degree and a post graduate diploma. He conducted the proceedings throughout with respect and courtesy to his opponent and the court.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It took in excess of 3 years for this case to reach trial encountering delay after delay, late submissions by West Yorkshire Police by which time the memories of their officers had conveniently faded. Mr Ahmed managed to succeed in his claim against West Yorkshire Police albeit not in every aspect. The trial judge HHJ Gosnell stated in his judgement: I was not impressed by

this last minute change of evidence which appeared to be motivated by a need to plug a hole in the Defendants case which the Claimant had exposed. DS Wright in particular looked embarrassed to be making these assertions. I find as a fact that the car was searched at 7.40 as noted in the officers pocket notebooks and not at 8.30 as they contend.
Not only did West Yorkshire Police officers lie about the time they searched his vehicle, they deliberately misled a police inspector in retrospectively authorising the search that had already taken place as an attempt to cover up the illegal search. They then made false entries on the search record as to the time of the search. If that was not enough they sought to lie on oath during these proceedings about the search of the vehicle. Those officers gave evidence that it was in fact the force solicitor who had told them they had mistake about the time they had searched the vehicle even though he was not present when the search took place. There are concerns that those officers were encouraged to provide false testimony on oath by the force solicitor. It is disappointing that HHJ Gosnell only awarded 1.00 in damages to Mr Ahmed in the face of such serious police impropriety. That does not act as any sought of deterrent to police misconduct but in fact it gives the police as public office holders (crown servants entrusted with extraordinary powers) a green light to commit illegal acts, cover them up, lie about them if the only award is going to be a mere 1.00 against them. Officers changed evidence at the last minute to plug a hole in the police case Showed a lack of remorse Were prepared to lie on oath Illegally searched a vehicle Deliberately misled a police inspector to retrospectively authorise the search Made a false entry on the search book.

West Yorkshire Police contend that they spent 125,000 of taxpayers monies in defending the claim. Mr Ahmeds claim was limited to 150,000 and in all likelihood could have been settled for 20,000. Why would West Yorkshire Police authorise their legal team to spend so much of taxpayers money defending a claim which they could have settled for a fraction of the cost? West Yorkshire Police are now pursuing Mr Ahmed for 106,000. It is ludicrous and beyond a joke. The fact that the police came into this action and made no offer at all to settle refusing to acknowledge that they were in the wrong even in spite of having been found to be so by Judge Benson in the criminal proceedings and renewed findings of this Trial Judge was at the expense of public funds and to the taxpayer. The behaviour of the police throughout the actions against the Claimant in this case were at best poor and at worst, verging upon the oppressive. The police were allowed to rely on evidence of 18 police officers who Mr Ahmed had to cross examine on his own and in contrast he was not allowed to rely on independent police expert witness or indeed other witnesses that supported his case. Despite West Yorkshire Police officers providing false testimony in two separate trials no officer has been reprimanded, arrested or investigated. HHJ Benson during the voir dire commented:

And I find it incredible in fact, I do not accept her evidence that she did not realise the significance of that document as being legally privileged, and that she has not told the truth about that. She admits that she opened it, she admits that she read it, but it seems to me that a detective sergeant of 18 years experience must inevitably have realised the significance of it, and that nothing was done with it, and it seems to me, looking at the evidence of herself, together with that of DC Wade, and to some extent that of Diane Jessop, there has been an economy with the truth about this document.

COMMENTS BY JUDGE BENSON

Judge Benson: Can I raise the question of Count 3? You are pursuing that are you; the allegation being that he obtained a loan by under-stating his income Well, I think it might......it seems a bit counter-intuitive. You might find it somewhat difficult to persuade a jury that....of the Defendants guilt on that Count, but as I say, its entirely a matter for you. (Pages 3 and 4 of - 2nd March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judge Benson: This is a very tortuous investigation, its seems to me, in which there are many twists and turns. Im afraid I have to observe, Mr Rosario, that you have asserted other matters and Im not criticizing you, because thats your understanding, but you have asserted other matters of fact last week which turned out to be inaccurate insofar as, for example, the purpose of the February search. So I think pure assertions by the Crown Im beginning to have to and Im sorry to have to say this; as I say, its no reflection on you at all of course Im beginning to view with a certain scepticism. (Pages 2 and 3 of -7th March 2011)
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Judge Benson: So it would seem that theres a tension here in your evidence, because we know that the defendants proof of evidence was on the disk. We know that you accessed everything there was to access on that disk, which included the defendants proof of evidence, but we know that you didnt inform anybody, you say, of the fact that there was legally privileged material there. Can you explain this apparent contradiction? Pages 23 and 24 of 7th March 2011 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judge Benson: Well, that is right, Can I say how my mind is working so that you can focus on the issues that I see as arising here, because I do find this a difficult case. I am convinced, having heard her evidence, that there was a deliberate breach of professional privilege in the sense that she would have known, and would have known, that someones proof of evidence indicated that that is a document that has been prepared in relation to the legal proceedings, and she should not have opened it or read it, and so to that extent there has been a breach of privilege. (Page 29 of 8th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: Well, Mr. Rosario, it is not an attractive picture, I am afraid. I mean, firstly you have heard what I have said about my view of the evidence of Detective Sergeant Morley. I do not accept that an officer of 18 years standing, who achieved the rank of detective sergeant, is being truthful when she says she did not understand the concept of a proof of evidence, and, secondly, it did not occur to her that any breach of professional legal privilege was going to occur by her scrutinising the document. Are you going to seek to persuade me to the contrary as to why I should not reach that conclusion, or is it a common sense one. (Page 37 of 8th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: Well, I think that is something that does concern me in the sense that, it now having been established after a number of witnesses were saying, Oh, I dont remember opening this, and I dont remember opening this and that, some of the documents I couldnt open, and some I could, we now have a candid admission, although accompanied by dissembling as to significance of doing what she did, a candid admission by Sergeant Morley of the fact that she did open this document and indeed read it. What troubles me is that I cannot be sure as to what use, if any, that information was put, which is the point you make. You would say, given my finding I mean, it may be Mr. Rosario tries to persuade me that I should accept her evidence that she did not, an officer of 18 years standing, realise the significance of what she was doing in terms of abuse of legal privilege, but if he fails in that, then I have to say, well, who knows what happened thereafter, who knows now what information was gathered, because there has been a lot of additional evidence in the case, and who knows what further ammunition has been given to Mr. Rosario as a result of what might be sometimes called the fruit of the poisoned tree, we do not know, and that is something that gives me cause for serious concern. (Page 32 of 8th March 2011) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judge Benson: Yes, I have to say I was somewhat troubled by Detective Superintendent Bennetts justification of that, and the point was made by Mr. Kearl, I thought with some force and justification. Well, they went in the case of Mrs. Gabriel three times before saying, Will you be a witness? and when she said NO for the third time they said, All right, were going to arrest you then, and much the same happened to the other witness. Either they were suspected of being complicit in it or they were not, and the fact that they exercised their right not to give a statement does not add, should not of itself add, to any grounds of suspicion, if non existed before that they were complicit. (Page 42 of 8th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: An objective observer might consider that it smacked of oppressive conduct. (Page 42 of 8th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: It is denied. Counsel ought to see it. Well, in general terms what is your argument for public interest immunity? Defendants must be entitled, unless there is very sensitive information there, to know on what basis a warrant was applied for, must they not? Why is it privileged? I mean, what damage to the public interest arises about them seeing this? It might be damaging to your case. (Page 45 of 8th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: There was an excess of zeal by the officers who carried out the search, and in fact no documents were seized, and that is not a final finding of fact about that (Page 18 of 9th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: I have to say that the treatment of those witnesses did give me cause for concern (Page 19 of 9th March 2011) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Judge Benson: And I find it incredible in fact, I do not accept her evidence that she did not realise the significance of that document as being legally privileged, and that she has not told the truth about that. She admits that she opened it, she admits that she read it, but it seems to me that a detective sergeant of 18 years experience must inevitably have realised the significance of it, and that nothing was done with it, and it seems to me, looking at the evidence of herself, together with that of DC Wade, and to some extent that of Diane Jessop, there has been an economy with the truth about this document. (Page 24 of 9th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: It is impossible to point to any explicit prejudice arising in this case, but it is now an admitted fact that by December of last year a detective sergeant in the case, who took a very active part in the conduct of the case, had read this proof of evidence. She took no steps to stop what she was doing when the nature of the document must have been clearly revealed to her, and inform the Crown Prosecution Service, or indeed Superintendent Bennett, it would seem, and it is clear that she was not being truthful when she said and claimed she did not realise that what she was looking was a legally privileged document. As I have said, I also found Detective Constable Wades and Miss Jessops evidence about this matter evasive on the issue of whether they viewed it, or not. (Page 27 of 9th March 2011) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Judge Benson: There was this very significant irregularity and impropriety at the root of the investigation the process as a whole is tarnished (Page 28 of 9th March 2011) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------