R(W80) v IOPC: Supreme Court grants permission to appeal
In this long running matter, the High Court and the Court of Appeal have each considered the correct approach to self-defence in police misconduct proceedings. Jason Beer QC and Robert Cohen are instructed on behalf of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
The Divisional Court held that it had not been lawful for the IOPC to apply the civil law test for self-defence (that a belief in the necessity to use force must not only be honestly held, it must also be a reasonable belief) in directing the Metropolitan Police Service to bring proceedings for misconduct against a police firearms officer for fatally shooting Jermaine Baker. The IOPC appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal allowed the IOPC's appeal, holding that if an officer made an honest mistake, a misconduct panel must still determine whether the use of force was "reasonable in all the circumstances" (in the language of the relevant Standard of Professional Behaviour). In many cases, an honest mistake was also likely to be found to have been reasonable in all the circumstances, but there may be some cases where it would not. W80 then sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, supported by the Commissioner of Police.
The Supreme Court has now given W80 permission to appeal in respect of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The judgment of the Supreme Court is likely to be of seminal importance in respect of police misconduct and wider professional discipline.
The Divisional Court’s judgment is here.
The Court of Appeal’s judgment is here.
Jason and Robert acted in the Court of Appeal for the Metropolitan Police Service. They both appear in the full range of police law disciplines, but have particular experience of public law challenges.