Midlands police pay record damages

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The Independent Online
FRESH SCIENTIFIC evidence - which lawyers claim suggests that two West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad detectives fabricated parts of an interview with a man who yesterday received a record pounds 70,000 damages - is to be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service.

In an agreed statement, the High Court in Birmingham was told the evidence was obtained during preparations for the civil claim for false arrest and malicious prosecution brought by Paul Dandy.

The statement was read following the settlement of the action out of court, in which the police do not admit liability. West Midlands Police paid the compensation and estimated costs of pounds 250,000.

The claim followed the collapse of a prosecution against Mr Dandy in November 1987 because earlier Esda tests - which can match indentations on a page with writing on the one above - suggested that his one-line admission to an armed robbery offence had been fabricated by detectives.

The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges but the two detectives who conducted the interview, Detective Sergeant James McManus and Detective Constable Lawrence Shaw, and a detective chief inspector, later admitted destroying a page of notes and were reprimanded at a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Dandy's solicitor, David Simon, criticised the time it took to settle the case: 'This litigation began in November 1989 and was not settled until just a few days before the trial was due to start. This was at a massive public expense as both parties are publicly funded, one by the Legal Aid Board and the other by the taxpayer. Perhaps questions should be asked about how such enormous public expense was allowed to come about.'