Four plastic bags were forced over Derek Treadaway's head while five detectives from West Midlands Police's now disbanded Serious Crime Squad questioned him about a series of armed robberies in 1982, the High Court in Birmingham was told.
In a 92-page judgment, Mr Justice Mackinnon said he did not believe the evidence of four of the officers who interviewed Mr Treadaway. He said: 'What happened to him amounted to nothing less than torture.'
The treatment at a Birmingham police station was 'oppressive, cynical and unacceptable . . . for their . . . criminal acts there is no dispute that the Chief Constable is vicariously responsible,' he said.
Yesterday's successful civil action could lead to a disciplinary inquiry. A police investigation into Mr Treadaway's complaints took place in the mid-Eighties but dismissed his claims. The police deny the allegations.
It is understood other cases connected to Mr Treadaway's conviction involving similar allegations of 'plastic bagging' may now be referred to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Treadaway, 49, of Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, was arrested in April 1982. He told the court how, during his fifth police interview at Bromford Lane police station, he was led into a room by Detective Constable Alan Pickering, where there were four other officers, including Detective Inspector John Brown, Detective Sergeant Timothy Russell, and Detective Constable John Price. All are still serving in the force.
Mr Treadaway said a plastic bag was put over his head while he was handcuffed. He was held down and three more bags were used causing him to nearly lose conciousness until he agreed to sign a confession.
Three hours later, he was was examined by a doctor who reported that marks on his body were consistent with his account.
Mr Treadaway was convicted of armed robbery at a Birmingham post office and sentenced to 15 years. He was released in 1991.
Yesterday, Mr Treadaway was awarded pounds 40,000 exemplary damages, pounds 7,500 aggravated damages and pounds 2,500 compensatory damages. Afterwards, he said: 'The judge decided what I said was the truth, but money cannot account for nine-and-a-half years of my life.'
A West Midlands Police spokesman said that it had not been decided whether action would be taken against any of the officers involved.