Jeremy Johnson, Alan Payne, Beatrice Collier and Cicely Hayward successfully appear for Chief Constable of South Wales Police
Judgment was given in the High Court on 14 June 2016 in the Lynette White litigation (Mouncher & 14 others v Chief Constable of South Wales Police ). The judgment vindicated the Defendant Chief Constable with a finding that “the officers involved in LW3 did not act in bad faith”. Jeremy Johnson QC, Alan Payne, Beatrice Collier and Cicely Hayward represented the successful Defendant in the litigation, which is one of the longest running and highest value police civil action of recent years.
Fifteen former South Wales Police officers had brought claims in malicious prosecution, misfeasance in public office, false imprisonment and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998. The central allegation was that the 2003-2009 investigation (known as “LW3”) into their roles in the 1988 inquiry into the murder of Lynette White, and the resulting 2011 criminal prosecution, had been conducted in bad faith. The trial of their claims took place over 10 weeks in October – December 2015. Mr Justice Wyn Williams, in dismissing all claims for malicious prosecution and misfeasance and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 (and 13 of the 15 false imprisonment claims) found that there was “ample justification” for the LW3 officers’ belief that key witnesses in 1988 had lied when they gave accounts to the police which named men who they said had been responsible for Lynette White’s murder, and that he was “equally satisfied” that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that those key witnesses had been induced to lie by the police officers involved in the 1988 murder inquiry because he found it “very difficult to understand how the [key witnesses’] accounts emerged as they did if no police officer was instrumental in what occurred”. The Judge found that two of the fifteen arrests were unlawful, and has adjourned that part of those two cases to a separate hearing to determine limitation and, if necessary, quantum.