Wiltshire Police's legal costs in Sgt Mark Andrews case £300k

Legal action against a police officer, who was jailed, sacked before being cleared cost Wiltshire Police more than £300,000.

Sgt Mark Andrews was convicted of actual bodily harm and jailed in 2010, but this was quashed by the High Court.

He was detained after CCTV footage showed him dragging a suspect across Melksham police station's floor and throwing her on to the cell floor.

The officer eventually returned to work and has limited public contact.

'Public concern'

Figures released by the force under the Freedom of Information Act show between July 2008 and April 2013 the force spent £302, 924 with external lawyers and consultants for legal advice on the case.

But the constabulary said it "held no information" about similar costs incurred internally.

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said members of the former Wiltshire Police Authority were "unanimous" in deciding on legal proceedings to reflect the public concern following the screening of the custody footage.

"There was clear legal advice to the effect that there was a reasonable prospect of success," he added.

Chief Constable Patrick Geenty said it worked with the police authority to take appropriate action.

Image caption Sgt Mark Andrews returned to work at Melksham police station

"The proceedings inevitably incurred costs. It is important to note, however, that out of this figure, only a proportion was spent on the judicial review.

"The judicial review was the only part of the entire process which Wiltshire Police undertook voluntarily."

Sgt Andrews was jailed for six months but bailed six days later pending an appeal.

Then in November 2010, Sgt Andrews' conviction was quashed, but a month later he was dismissed by the force following a disciplinary panel.

A year later however, he won his job back and the force was ordered to reimburse him for lost earnings.

In 2012, the force took an appeal against the reinstatement to a judicial review but this was rejected last November and the judge said Sgt Andrews should be re-employed.

Sgt Andrews eventually returned to work in a role, at his request, with limited public contact.

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