April 8, 2005
Court dismisses police claim for libel
Police failures led to the wrongful arrest of the Hamiltons
Mr Justice Eady today dismissed the libel claim by a police officer that he bore no responsibility for the conduct of the police investigation into the now infamous claims made by Nadine Milroy Sloan that she had been raped and sexually assaulted by Neil and Christine Hamilton and the collapse of an earlier gang rape investigation.
Superintendent Christopher Miller sued Associated Newspapers for libel in respect of articles published in the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard in September 2001 which accused him of important failures in two grossly incompetent police investigations when he was a Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police.
The articles reported the alleged findings of an internal police investigation into the Milroy Sloan case and also stated that Mr Miller faced disciplinary charges for neglect of duty in respect of an earlier investigation.
Milroy Sloan was jailed for 3 years for attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2003, after it emerged that her allegations against the Hamiltons were a complete fabrication.
In a 212-paragraph judgment the Court upheld Associated Newspapers’ defence of justification. Having heard evidence over a 3 week period from police officers of all ranks, Eady J found that in relation to the Milroy-Sloan case that the police had overwhelming evidence in their possession that Miss Milroy-Sloan was a fabricator and that Mr Miller had a leading role and responsibility for the investigation who was amongst those responsible for failures which led to the Hamiltons having been arrested when this should never have happened.
In relation to the other case known as Miss B Mr Miller fell short of the very high standards expected of him in failing to properly supervise junior officers.
This was, Eady J considered, a “subject matter apt for investigation and comment in the national press [concerning] the administration of justice, the exercise of executive power… and the approach of the [Met Police] to the handling of sensitive rape investigations.”
For the full judgment and the 5RB case report, click here.