Cleveland Police punished at court for fabricating evidence

I represented a mixed race Middlesbrough man in his compensation claim against the police. After a county court jury trial, Cleveland Police were found guilty of fabricating evidence to prosecute him.

Karim Allison, 52, made a police complaint to a Cleveland Police Inspector about a perceived racist comment made to him by a police officer following a minor traffic incident in January 2007. In response the officer and other members of the Cleveland police force produced false evidence which resulted in Mr Allison being convicted at the Magistrates’ Court for obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duties. This was overturned on appeal at the Crown Court and Mr Allison instructed me to assist him in suing the Police for malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. Following a trial at Teeside County Court on 31 January 2011, a jury found that the police fabricated evidence to prosecute and secure the initial conviction.

Mr. Allison’s partner, Ms. Nettleton, had been stopped by a police officer for driving with fog lights on. Mr. Allison happened to be passing by at the time and went to enquire to the reason Ms. Nettleton had been stopped. He attempted to reason with the police officer who had not yet issued any ticket or fixed penalty notice to his partner. The officer reacted aggressively to Mr Allison’s presence and words were exchanged so Mr. Allison apologised and offered to shake his hand. The police officer made an alleged racist remark about Mr. Allison’s hand which offended Mr. Allison. He told the officer he was going to make a complaint for his racist remark, After the officer had finished his duties of issuing a fixed penalty notice, Mr Allison then immediately attended Middleborough Police Station to lodge a complaint to the officers supervising inspector. The inspector challenged the merits of the complaint saying that he ‘didn’t believe the officer in question was like that’.

The officer took exception to Mr. Allison’s complaint and along with other officers fabricated evidence so as to prosecute him for obstruction to prevent the complaint of racism going forward. Four years and numerous stressful court appearances later, Mr. Allison, finally had his name cleared. The jury found that the police officer had fabricated allegations about Mr Allison’s behaviour. Following an out of court settlement, Mr Allison recovered an undisclosed, but substantial, amount in compensation in his civil action against the police.

This was a difficult case as Karim and I were putting our faith in the jury accepting one man’s word against an entire police force hell-bent on securing his conviction and disputing his allegations. Fortunately, the jury believed my client and he was awarded significant compensation to punish the police for their misconduct.

Press coverage of this claim against the police

The BBC published the story quoting Cleveland Police, who put the inconsistencies in evidence down to ‘inexperience’.

The Northern Echo quoted Karim Allison’s demand for an independent investigation.

The Middlesbrough Evening Gazette also featured the story.

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