Police – psychiatric harm
– ex turpi causa
High Court, Queen’s Bench Division: Males
8 January 2015
The claimant sought damages for psychiatric
injury in the form of an adjustment disorder.
He argued that this arose from a breach of duty owed to him by the Chief
Constable, who accepted vicarious liability for the acts and omissions of the
collaborative police unit, where the claimant worked. During this period the
claimant’s misuse of cocaine came to light, which meant that he was no longer able
to continue in this role. The court
determined that the claimant’s disorder had resulted from the loss of status
and identity which occurred after the misconduct came to light. Judgment was
entered for the defendant.
The claimant worked as an undercover officer
tasked with gathering intelligence in relation to a serious organised criminal
group. The claimant was found to be
misusing cocaine and was offered alternative employment within the police. He applied for ill-health retirement, which
was granted by the medical appeal board.
The claimant argued that the defendant had
breached his duty of care for failing to provide appropriate support, and that
this had resulted in his adjustment disorder.
The defendant contended that any psychiatric harm was attributable to
the claimant’s own misconduct.
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