Babar Ahmad: Officers cleared to seek damages from Met Commissioner

PC Rod James-Bowen, PC Nigel Cowley, PC Mark Jones and Det Con John Donohue
Image caption The four officers were acquitted in 2011 of attacking Mr Ahmad

Four police officers who were "branded abusive thugs" for the way they arrested terror suspect Babar Ahmad have won the right to seek damages.

The Court of Appeal ruled the officers can sue the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

They accused the Met of "letting them down badly" by not defending them against claims they beat Mr Ahmad.

In March 2009 the Met paid £60,000 to Mr Ahmad after admitting he had been subjected to an attack.

Image caption Babar Ahmad returned to the UK from a US jail last year

The Met initially denied Mr Ahmad's claim that he was punched, kicked and throttled during his December 2003 arrest.

However, lawyers for the then commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson admitted at the High Court that Mr Ahmad had been the victim of "gratuitous and sustained violence" at his home in Tooting, south-west London.

In 2011 the four officers - PCs Rod James-Bowen, Nigel Cowley, Mark Jones and Det Con John Donohue - were charged over the assault, but were later acquitted.

Who is Babar Ahmad?

Babar Ahmad was jailed in the US after setting up a website considered to be a key moment in the birth of the internet jihad.

He was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years but fought an eight-year-long campaign against extradition.

Mr Ahmad was released from a US prison in June last year and returned home after the authorities took into account his lengthy custody in the UK.

The officers' initial claim for damages was rejected by the High Court.

On appeal, judges ruled the four were entitled to bring their claim "for economic and reputational harm based on a breach of a duty of care at common law".

The appeal judges said the officers were claiming the commissioner breached a duty of care when he admitted liability over Ahmad and made a public apology.

The court heard the commissioner's admission of liability "unfairly branded them as abusive thugs" resulting in "the stress of a criminal trial and damage to their prospects of promotion".

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