Damn right on bigger damages
£7 for every day of your life that has been ruined is a pisstake.
A man wrongly accused in Britain's largest ever child pornography investigation has won damages in the High Court after an eight-year legal battle. Jeremy Clifford, 51, from Watford, was arrested and falsely charged in 2003 as part of Operation Ore. His credit card details had been found among those of thousands of British …
"Despite this, the officer, Detective Constable Brian Hopkins, pressed three charges of possession of indecent images of children. Mr Justice Mackay said he cut a "rather pathetic figure" in the witness box, having initially claimed he could not give evidence because of a psychiatric condition."
He did have a psychiatric condition - he's a lying, deceitful, malicious little prick who would rather ruin someone's life than do the right thing (and his duty to uphold the law).
An apparently contagious condition easily transmitted staff meetings by a staff virus, since it apparently lead the rest of his department to support the malicious charges.
The poor dears should be sent to police the sheep on some tiny remote uninhabited Scottish Isle while they recover.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "Legal advice was taken beforehand and it was advised and expected that we had a reasonable chance of winning our case."
They knew that they were wrong to prosecute against expert evidence in the first place and they knew that their prosecution had caused real damage to an innocent person and yet they still fought the case because they thought they'd get away with it.
How fucking dare they...
In the '70's the police in Birmingham cost the "lives" of the Birmingham 6. There was also the "Carl Bridgewater Affair". Other Police Forces did the same on the basis - and continue to do so - see Private Eye - that the arrestee had done it they just didn't have enough evidence.
The police appear to have, in their arrogance, learned nothing and now put the public purse to greater expense in their benighted desire to "think of the children".
How many more genuine nasty creeps have escaped justice while the police defend the indefensible with Our taxes.
Will any senior officer be held to account, lose their livelihood or suffer public opprobrium becasue of this debacle? They might get a bit of a set back in their Knighthood or MBE/CBE... or what have you.
Why? The taxpayer foots the bill.
This kind of abuse of power will continue until there are definite and personal consequences to the entire chain of police command involved.
The New Labour Government also decided to push through more and more ways for the police to make someone's life miserable and utterly destroy their career - with fewer and fewer checks against it happening.
And ACPO seems to wonder why the common man has so little respect for the police.
Maybe they should use their 20% cuts to get rid of the trash?
There are a lot of really amazing police officers who do a very tough job extremely well for very little reward - but such petty officers like this destroy the entire Force's credibility and make the job so much harder for everyone else.
Not only is the recompense inadequate, I've no doubt that he's now well known by the constabulary and whilst they may not try to fit him up any more.
I'm damn sure he won't be given the benefit of the doubt. Ever.
Call me a cynic, but I reckon there's a few coppers out there clenching their fists thinking this is one that got away.
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I thought it was the job of CPS to decide if cases were worth prosecuting.
Police collect evidence, CPS assess it for potential of conviction against public interest, courts prosecute. That's the separation of power. Police have no place in deciding if a case is worthy of prosecution.
Although the CPS do generally give the go-nogo, the Police are able to persue prosecution in _some_ cases regardless of what the CPS say.
I was, however, under the impression this was only in fairly trivial cases, not sure accusing someone of being a pedo quite falls under the category trivial!
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I would imagine the cps were given something like...
"cant get these images without clicking on the child porn banner" bit mentioned in the other ORE story
"we found these images" (not mentioning they were thumbnails)
"credit card has been used on the sting sites" (not mentioning the disputed CC charges)
given those lines and the large number of other "similar" cases resulting from ORE I would imagine it got the green light from the cps fairly easily
I wonder what the additional serious charge was? Not in any way to blacken Mr Clifford's character, just an interesting look into the way Plod's mind seems to work: "Get him in front of a jury charged with two things, and hope they're sufficiently swayed to find him guilty of the lesser one".
It's very, very scary to see that someone *known* to be innocent is pursued just so a copper doesn't look stupid. That on top of the mess that was Operation Ore is quite chilling.
I might be completely wrong here but isn't there some sort of conspiracy offence if you pay for child porn? The idea seems to ring a bell but it could have just been some speculation I heard rather than an actual offence.
The evidence relating to the credit card fraud would have cast serious doubt on any such offence if it is on the statutes.
Judge Rules Police Maliciously Destroy Man's Life By Obstructing Justice -- Judge Awards Token Payment
And that is the thing, this is not just a civil matter, there is the very serious criminal act of Obstruction of Justice, made worse because it was committed by a police officer on duty.
....that he'd come up with some weasel-worded get out for himself about this one.
The whole thing is absolutely disgusting, I'd like to see the responsible officers dealt with very harshly especially in the cases where they managed to shame innocent people into committing suicide.
in the cases where the pursued individual committed suicide.
Corporate Manslaughter is supposed to cover cases where death wasn't intended by an organisation but was the outcome due to their action or inaction, so it doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
To me that feels like a much shorter stretch than the incredibly slim evidence Operation Ore was originally based upon.
Harassment charges are definitely applicable - though I think those have to apply to an individual, rather than a corporate entity - and good luck finding an individual to pin it on.
I'm not a big fan of huge damages claims. Usually they're rubbish. But 8 years of this crap, trashed mental health, a whole bunch of no good for your family, and the loss of your business - come on! Loss of earnings alone is going to be more than that when his business went under.
OTOH, if he's had decent advice then he'll screw them to hell and gone on costs. Costs isn't just your legal team, it's also the time you've spent on this. Document every second you spend on this kind of thing, multiply by the hourly rate in your dayjob, and present your bill.
*your* time is worth absolutely nothing. I know this from bitter experience both taking someone to court (successfully) and also being taken to court (and successfully defending myself).
Telephone calls, taxi journeys, letters (stamps, paper, ink) are all costs, and can be recovered. But your time is "free". The only people whos time is worth anything are - wait for it - lawyers and barristers.
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Not only is your time free, as a citizen it costs you 20% more to get justice than it does for a corporate body.
This is because the solicitor's service are VAT'd, and companies and public bodies can usually get the VAT back.
Would also note the morality of taxing access to justice.
The massive bill goes to the lawyers. Mr Clifford gets £20K for a shattered life.
The Police's own forensic expert said that there was no evidence worth pursuing. If that was not brought to the notice of the defence then the police should be facing criminal charges for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The police will not change a single thing because of this.
I've always said that cached thumbnails were a potential danger to anyone browsing the Internet or using a web-based mail client. I hope that this will set precedent.
I agree that the victim has been awarded a pitiful settlement, and I would be very interested in finding out in 6 months time what a CRB check shows for him. I think that if I were his lawyer, I would go for interim damages pending their clients reputation being restored. If this appears in an adverse way on his record at some time in the future, then they would be able to go for lifetime damages that should be enough to support this person for the rest of their natural life.
And it would be even better if the claim would have to be contributed to by all of the members of the prosecution rather than the tax payers.
can never be undone - they're like credit checks. The best you can hope for is an addendum stating the conviction was overturned.
Luckily there is no case in history where anybody has ignored the addendum saying "no smoke without fire". Otherwise there would be scope for a massive injustice.
Also, under the ISA framework, "soft" intelligence is enough.
not good enough... images deleted remain accessible to those with the skill and knowledge... the only way to be reasonable safe is to browse with loads of ram and your cache in a RAM drive.. anyway, every image you ever pull down is accessible via your ISP's records of every thing you're browser has ever requested... why do you think they want ISPs to keep records then? To cope with people using encryption on their discs
so start browsing using https and insist of websites supporting https...
Simply cast your mind back to 8 years ago when the plod were being ordered by NuLab to solve crime and prove it by supplying stats. The Chief Plods all made maximum bonus by hitting targets. The problem now is that despite the Home Office scrapping the targets, the Chief Plods persist in keeping them under new names as it maintains the status quo.
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1. Prosecute the scroat of a DC who started this malicious prosecution
2. When that is successful (shouldn't be too difficult), sue him for every penny he has
3. Surcharge all the line managers of this investigation so that the taxpayer doesn't have to bear the cost.
4. Tax the CPS barristers and solicitors for the court costs
That'll learn 'em.
Presumably the main media outlets will now be covering this story with the same lurid headlines and prominence as the original one.
I look forward to reading their headlines and the four page spreads about this acquittal.
Will we get to see the police officer concerned being led away under a blanket, as outraged locals bang on the sides of the van speeding him away.
No doubt the BBC are flying thirty correspondents to the scene as we speak, and the road outside his house is filling with satellite trucks.
I could be wrong, of course.
... yes, I can just see the News of the Screws putting out the headline "Man falsely accused of Child Porn acquitted" followed by "Derisory amount of compensation paid"...
In other news: Moon Found to be Made of Cheese, Jim Gamble Apologises to Innocent Victim of His Actions, How to Nail Jelly to the Ceiling...
A few questions to the chair of the Police Committee or whatever body oversees the actions of the local police.
1)Where did they obtain this "Legal advice" that said they had a good chance of winning when their *own* forensics person reckoned it was BS.
2) Will the Constabulary seek to recover some of that cash from the worthless DC who started this?
3)How much of taxpayers money has the Constabulary, sorry Police "Service" p**sed up against the wall on this.
Note this *could* have been terminated at nearly *any* point by the Police once they *knew* they were going to loose.
Little fuss. Little publicity.
The chief con-stable (tell me this sort of decision *cannot* be made at *any* more junior level) decided "F**k it, we're the Police. They *have* to believe us." (Besides it's not *my* money I'm wasting).
I rubbish DC gone. *Plenty* more to go I think.
I havent seen the file, but I wonder what the costs comprise of? It sounds like he had a business that failed. This alone, I would have thought, would be a reasonable amount of money. Certainly more than 20k. Maybe this was incorporated into the costs, I dont know.
But my feel is that this was an absolutely disgraceful approach taken by the authorities, both in initiation, and subsequent bloody-mindedness.
There should, without question, be fallout on the authorities side. Prison sentences should be brought against these people IF it can be proven that their actions were malicious. I can certainly understand people making mistakes. We're human, and it happens. But if it was malicious, then I'd have no hesitation in sending these people to jail.
Sadly if this had happened in Canada the courts would have offered no solution and no recourse. The definition of malicious prosecution is virtually impossible to prove, and misfeasance in public office is a protected activity (for government employees including police, only malfeasance creates liability).
lmao 20k....try moving that decimal point three places to the right.
I'm just pissed that taxpayers will pay for this. It should come straight out of the salaries of those involved, the people who hired them and the people who hired them. Like all corruption and incompetency the buck usually stops at a politician....
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£20k of Hertfordshire tax payers money is the *minor* part. The legal bill will be in the 100s of £k, IE 10-20x that amount.
All because a useless DC decided to play CYA.
And an equally useless Chief Constable *agreed* with him.
Seems strange that a single (damaged?) ex detective constable is taking the fall for all of this. Where were his supervisors / senior officers when all this was going on? How was a junior police officer allowed to decide that he would ignore the advice of the forensics expert and continue to press charges? Whilst his behaviour was apparently reprehensible I smell a scapegoat situation..
It isnt just the weasel DC here, the whole thing is rotten.
Sadly, the force will use the name of the DC as the sacrificial lamb so that all his co-workers (who will have agreed with his decisions) and his managers (who supported and approved his actions) will go unpunished.
The force wont even mind about the fine as they get to up council tax next year to cover the costs.
In all: if you want to truly destroy someone's life then be a Government worker. No one else has that level of power for so little responsibility or accountability. The best bit about being a copper is that if *anyone* ever questions your behaviour you can point to the minority drunken hooligans and scream about how they have no idea what you have to put up with, how you are a hero and that their opinion doesnt count here.....
What makes it sadder is that this is also blamed on the crackpot Labour government we endured. Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. The colour on the ties of the ruling parties might be different but there is no way that the crux of the policies that lead to this will be watered down. There is no way the Police will feel more accountable now and certainly no way the Government will.
Epic state fail really.
(BTW - I am a tripple ex-Government employee having spent 6 years in the Army, 5 in the police and two in the civil service. I hate myself as much as everyone else does...)
I'm dead serious when I say why shouldn't the death penalty apply here. I know people in the UK tend not to like and think it's barbaric, but lives were destroyed in ways that can not be fixed,and this was done to further some ones career with a known lie. The damage done to those that were innocent was barbaric. Being falsely accused of being a pedophile is a life sentence, for some it was a death sentence.
Your side of the puddle needs something like United States Code Title 42, Section 1983:
"Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia. "