Police lose qualified privilege appeal

CA upholds £45,000 jury award

The Court of Appeal has today dismissed an appeal by the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police against a finding last December that one of his officers had defamed the Claimant, Ben Wood.


Following a trial before Mr Justice Tugendhat, a jury awarded Mr Wood damages of £45,000. The claim arose from publications made by a then Detective Chief Inspector, supposedy in order to prevent crime, that Mr Wood claimed imputed to him that he had aided and abetted the commission of numerous serious criminal offences.


In summary, the Court of Appeal held


(1) that publications by the West Midlands Police defaming Mr Wood, although supposedly in order to prevent crime, were not published on occasions protected by qualified privilege; and


(2) that Tugendhat J was within his right to grant permission to Mr Wood to amend his case to add a claim in slander outside the limitation period and after the close of the evidence at the trial.


For the full case report and judgment click here.


5RB‘s Adrienne Page QC and William Bennett represented Mr Wood instructed by Carter-Ruck.