why fighting this hampshire police case is important for all whistleblowers
Updated: Aug 14
I am publishing this in the public interest because it should concern all whistle blowers as the outcome of the case is being used to try and dismiss other whistle blowing cases.
I am still fighting this case but in the interim I think it is important because so much has been published about this case that it is time for the truth to come out so that those looking at this case are no longer mislead.
I had lost this case on a technicality where it was said that my unfair dismissal was not due to my disclosures but the “manner” in which I made my disclosures.
Effectively what they are saying is that if you report crime committed by police officers and there is a cover up or nothing is done you should then keep quiet rather than trying to ensure corrupt officers are dealt with.
As an experienced detective, myself and others were not prepared to do that and we were all eventually got rid of one way or another.
There have been developments since this case which I will also update you with concerning police corruption extending to that employment tribunal hearing in suppressing relevant documents which; seems to be the modus operandi of many of the cases that have been brought to my attention and probably the biggest cause of miscarriages of justice.
The present case that I have relates directly to the conduct of Hampshire Constabulary in the previous whistleblowing dismissal case where it has since been discovered that Hampshire police suppressed relevant documents which; as we now know is a major concern for many people and results in miscarriages of justice.
I had serious concerns about the conduct of the previous employment tribunal case by the Judge who was part time Employment Judge Mr Housego and it may be the case that this is happening in other employment tribunal regions.
I think there is an argument for part time employment judges not being permitted to deal with whistle blowing cases.
Largely, my concerns were ignored and the judiciary appeared to cover for each other, the identity of those involved in my case may also have been a significant factor.
The respondent in my case was former Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan. He is now the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman (JACO).
To best understand the concerns I have in the ongoing employment tribunal cases concerning post employment victimisation for whistle blowing, the following is a summary of my concerns including the employment tribunal service paying lip service to disability and reasonable adjustments.
Another concern that I am raising with the employment tribunal is the manner in which case management summaries / Judgments are prepared which; do not reflect what actually went on in hearings and omitting to mention relevant evidence of witnesses.
The tribunals decision in the last case was that the force was determined to get rid of me and did so unfairly. The tribunal tried to suggest that this was not connected to my disclosures but the “manner” in which I made my disclosures.
That finding was perverse when presented with the facts of the case including unchallenged witness statements and where the Hampshire police decision makers were either directly connected to or the subject of the actual disclosures themselves.
The outcome of that case affects all whistle blowers and especially police whistle blowers, it acts as a deterrrant to police officers to report wrongdoing and does nothing to deter police corruption.
The tribunal had not considered the obligations of a police officer in reporting wrongdoing or the failure of the Respondent’s witnesses to act in accordance with laid down police law concerning the conduct of police officers.
The Judgment makes no mention of the serious misconduct of officers in this case nor the deliberate suppression of relevant documents which I have had to pursue following the conclusion of that tribunal case.
This is a case where apparently I have been the only police officer ever to be unfairly dismissed without being afforded the right to a police disciplinary hearing. Police Officers have limited employment rights which; is one of the reasons that there is a procedure for dismissing an officer which is covered by the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2004.
I was unrepresented and had no support from Hampshire police federation; a lot of what happened to me and my family I believe was as a result of the failure of the Police Federation to protect us and felt they were acting in the best interests of themselves and the corrupt senior officers I had exposed.
In no way could the employment tribunal hearing have been said to be fair, quite the opposite, a member of the public even wrote to the employment judge having attended on the first day of the hearing with concerns that the hearing was effectively being heard in secret.
Building works were being carried out in the court with loud drilling and the member of the public stated he could not hear Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan giving his evidence. This is corroborated by an audio recording.
From the conduct of the Employment Judge the perception was that he was keen on this case being heard in secret. Before the case had concluded there was a break for a week before we returned to the tribunal for the last three days.
During the break Employment Judge Housego went on a training day with Chief Constable Kernaghan as they both had a connected business interest with the Royal College of Nursing and Midwifery Counsel.
This along with other relevant incidents are noticeable by their absence in the judgment and reasons prepared by Employment Judge Housego following the hearing.
Employment Judge Housego has for whatever reason attempted to protect the Chief Constable by omitting any reference to the conduct of the officers in this case and on the rare occasion that he has such as when the most important documents in this case have allegedly gone missing (policy books) describes this as “odd” and serious misconduct/crime as “errors”.
The Chief Constable had in fact been guilty of misconduct in public office and despite my oral and written representations there is no mention of this anywhere in the Judgment.
This was one of the motivating factors of the Chief Constable to have removed me from the force in the way in which he did denying me my right to a hearing.
Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan was the complainant. judge, jury and executioner.
Comments on conduct of the hearing
Part Time Employment Judge Paul Housego made it clear that the case was not going to go part heard and would be concluded on time. This may have been because he had other commitments being a part time judge and working full time as a solicitor.
No allowance had been made for Mr Gary Self the barrister for Hampshire police manipulating the proceedings by drip feeding new witnesses and documents which should have previously been disclosed, or my condition deteriorating during the proceedings.
Mr Self although representing Hampshire police is also a Part Time Employment Tribunal Judge.
There was a failure to ensure reasonable adjustments were adhered to which resulted in an extended working day. The effect of this was that reasonable adjustments were non-existent and my condition deteriorated as the hearing progressed.
The Judgment failed to mention significant parts of the hearing, at one stage I broke down and had to leave the hearing, being unable to continue on another day due to additional medication affecting me and my wife also walking out in tears on one occasion.
On one occasion I was too ill to drive my vehicle away from the Employment Tribunal. The Tribunal Judge excessively involved himself in cross examining witnesses before I had an opportunity to do so.
This commenced with the very first witness who was Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan and resulted in distraction, my line of questioning being interfered with and being unable to cross examine Mr Kernaghan on relevant documents.
The Judge’s excessive involvement in either cross examining witnesses or asking questions when the witnesses were giving evidence in chief resulted in my also being unable to present my case properly or fully.
I had only been given 4 days to present my case compared to the Respondent’s 5 despite having many more witnesses. This was reduced even further by Mr Self introducing additional witnesses.
Hampshire police had the least number of witnesses but had the lion’s share of the time, this resulted in my being unable to call the majority of my witnesses. Had the Respondent decided to cross examine my witnesses, there would have been no time to do so.
The lack of documents were a continuing issue and there was an unusual situation where the Judge permitted the Respondent to include additional documents having earlier refused to order the same documents following my application.
The Judge failed to comment on the failure of the Respondent to have provided such documents as part of the standard disclosure. Even then the documents had been cherry picked and the Judge failed to order the Respondent to supply the remainder of the documents.
The Tribunal permitted the Respondent’s barrister to act unprofessionally in interrupting my cross examination and inappropriate questioning.
Mr Self also inconvenienced my witnesses who were travelling long distances including from abroad.
One of my witnesses flew over from Hungary.
He would wait for them to arrive before deciding not to cross examine them or they would be cancelled when it was too late and they had commenced their travel from abroad or North of the Country.
Whilst some of the these matters may seem insignificant; taken as a whole it should be obvious that there was no way on earth I could be said to have had a fair hearing.
Whilst a large part of this case related to our disclosures to the HMIC which subsequently corroborated our concerns with regards to endemic racism and sexism in the force, my disclosures resulted in 12 recommendations being made and the force being publicly labelled as sexist and racist in the press.
Employment Judge Housego seemed to go over the top in his Judgment to try and protect the force with regards to what the force had been doing to try and eradicate racism.
You might think it strange that he did not wish to ask any questions of a black police sergeant who had made a statement and as at the Tribunal as my witness, the witness had also been a member of the Hampshire Black Police Association and would paint a very different picture including that black police officers were being treated differently by PSD and being targeted.
There was a difference of opinion on the law between a full time Employment Judge Mr Kolanko and Part Time Judge Mr Housego which also placed me at a disadvantage.
I was not able cross examine a number of witnesses from the Respondent’s side due to my applications for witness orders being refused.
Employment Judge Kolanko informed me that I should write to Hampshire police giving the names of the potential witnesses and the evidence they could give. If the Respondent’s did not call those witnesses I could comment on this during final submissions and the Tribunal could draw an inference.
Employment Judge Housego was aware of this during the previous preliminary hearing and the start of the final hearing. He waited until the end of the case and final submissions before informing me that I had been directed wrongly by Employment Judge Kolanko and the Tribunal would not take into account the failure of the Respondent to call relevant witnesses.
The Judgment is riddled with significant factual errors and conclusions contrary to the evidence.
At some point I will paragraph by paragraph highlight the evidence that the employment judge chose to ignore as it did not accord with his predetermined outcome.
The most important documents in this case which were the policy books went missing; the importance of the files was such as they would be kept in a safe in the offices of the Professional Standards department “PSD”.
Other key documents also went missing which I believe were deliberately suppressed including perhaps the most serious disclosure concerning police corruption involving a paedophilia case.
Other documents suppressed included a report from the Sara Glen who is now the Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary and my police pocket notebook.
Whilst Employment Judge Housego has exaggerated the amount of documents in this case as “enormous”; the bundle was in fact limited to 2 lever arch files as directed. There was no reading time given, and there was not sufficient time for the panel to try and assimilate the documents or statements in the afternoons as Employment Judge Housego had envisaged.
The Case Management Discussion conducted by Part Time Employment Judge Housego prior to the final hearing was also recorded and that transcript is also important to highlight consistency in that I raised concerns and made applications concerning matters which would place me at a significant disadvantage specifically with regards to disclosure and witnesses.
An important observation in this case is that there is a noticeable absence of comment from Employment Judge Housego of relevant evidence contained within both the document bundle and witness statements that would have made it impossible for him to say that my disclosures were in no way whatsoever connected with my unfair dismissal.
There has been little equality of arms where I have been faced with dealing with high profile figures up to and including a Chief Constable whilst Part Time Employment Judge Housego denied permission for me to introduce evidence which would go some way to levelling the playing field.
The most compelling example of this was when Part Time Employment Judge Housego refused permission to introduce the evidence of the only senior ranking police officer on my side (Det Supt Thomas now retired) who had been the author of 3 letters contained within the document bundle.
The evidence of the Deputy Head of Hampshire CID would have cast doubt on the credibility and integrity supported by documentation of 2 of the main witnesses against me being the Chief Constable and the Deputy Chief Constable.
Put simply, he would provide evidence that he had knowledge that I was to be victimised by Deputy Chief Constable Readhead for whistleblowing and he had attempted to prevent this happening by communicating his concerns to the Chief Constable.
Detective Superintendent Thomas also raised concerned regarding breach of surveillance regulations.
Unusually before making the decision, Employment Judge Housego asked questions of DCC Readhead and Mr Self who both attempted to discredit Det Supt Thomas as a disaffected officer and Mr Housego allowed this to happen without giving Mr Thomas any right of reply.
Further; Mr Self despite not challenging any of my witnesses statements described all of the witnesses as being disaffected and he was proved wrong.
Since that time and; now subject of the present employment tribunal matters are the discovery of documents deliberately concealed from the previous whistleblowing dismissal case corroborating my allegation that a third senior officer in that case now DCC Sara Glen committed perjury.
Although I informed Employment Judge Housego and Southampton Employment Tribunal of this there has just been silence.
This is another example of where the Tribunal would have had difficulty in putting forward their assertion that my dismissal was in no way whatsoever connected with my disclosures where in reality this was in fact the real reason for my dismissal.
I believe I was effectively written off as a person with mental health issues. For barrister Mr Self it was like shooting fish in a barrel and an open cheque from Hampshire Constabulary.
Like may other whistleblowing victims including from other professions I have complex PTSD which has since been diagnosed as a result of sustained victimisation over several years by specific corrupt officers.
Mr Housego's Judgement indicated as much in that he believed that I was treated the way that I was by Hampshire police because of my disability but then did not find in my favour with regards to any of the disability aspects of my claim ignoring medical evidence.
By contrast, EJ Housego in his later comments to the Employment Appeal Tribunal attempted to cast doubt on my disability and I believe that this may have also been a factor in the failure to ensure that reasonable adjustments were adhered to in the final hearing.
Comments of EJ Housego were demonstrably incorrect evidenced by an audio recording. These were not minor mistakes.
The Tribunal failed to consider the band of reasonable responses test or to consider or modify the test in circumstances where my rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been unlawfully infringed.
This case was one where it was necessary for the Tribunal to familiarise itself with the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2004. Had it done so it would have seen the range of discipline sanctions available and that any reasonable employer would not have dismissed in these circumstances where I had an unblemished disciplinary record, was ill and in the system for being retired on ill health.
In a relevant paragraph of the Judgment there is an indication that the Judge did not understand police law relating to the case, he had mentioned the wrong act and section and it was a strong aspect of this case that the Respondent failed to use the appropriate legislation.
The Respondent despite maintaining that I had breached an express order from Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan had failed to use the statutory police conduct regulations, conduct a reasonable investigation or allow me an opportunity to respond before seeking authority from the now defunct Hampshire police authority to dismiss me.
A barrister representing me at a Police Authority hearing (Mr Michael Boardman) had prepared written representations for the police authority hearing and raised similar concerns in relation to the police authority hearing with regards to a breach of natural justice and my efforts to seek a fair hearing. The barrister described the process as a kangaroo court.
This included requesting necessary disclosure which had also been highlighted by Mr Boardman and which I also requested being refused by Employment Judge Housego at a Case Management Hearing.
Refusing to allow the evidence of Det Supt Thomas
The Tribunal refused without good reason to allow the evidence of a new witness Mr Thomas.
An important aspect of this issue is that Employment Judge Housego had previously questioned Deputy Chief Constable Readhead regarding the same witness and had been made aware by me that Mr Thomas would provide evidence indicating that DCC Readhead had not been truthful with the Judge.
The relevance of Det Supt Thomas’s evidence was clear and Part Time Employment Judge Housego had been informed at the hearing orally and in writing what that evidence was which contradicted Mr Readhead's comments.
What was also relevant was that Det Supt Thomas was going to refer to his letters which were in the document bundle indicating a concern that if any documents have disappeared that there should be a full independent investigation and that I be updated.
There was no mention of any of this in the employment tribunal judgment/reasons.
Due to the lack of independence or support from Hampshire Police Federation myself and a Hampshire Police federation representative who was also being victimised had to seek support from other police forces.
The statement of DCI Patrick McGinley (Police Federation Representative from South Yorkshire police) which; was not challenged by barrister Mr Gary Self representing Hampshire police included a request for a public inquiry stating:-
“ Mr Readhead took every desperate measure possible as he did not want the public of Hampshire to know about the tactics adopted to quell complaints of racism; bullying;and victimisation within his own force. The tribunal should, I feel, order a public inquiry into the activities of the Hampshire Constabulary approach to racism, diversity and misconduct matters.”
There is again a noticeable absence of any reference to this in the tribunal's judgment.
New evidence after tribunal
Although criminal allegations have been made of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice in relation to that employment tribunal hearing, Hampshire Constabulary again covered up and dealt with this in-house substantiating complaints with regards to the missing policy files and the paedophilia file.
Those officers included DCI Adrian Kingswell (PSD) and Graham Love (Disclosure Officer) received the lowest disciplinary sanction being “Management advice”. The criminal allegations were not forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or investigated as criminal allegations. The importance of these documents cannot be overstated. Policy files are the documents which would contain the reasons for any actions taken against me and the rational for doing or not doing something.
The Paedophilia file “Operation Bondfield” contains evidence corroborating my disclosure and the subsequent attempt to cover up and victimise me.
Interestingly, EJ Housgo did comment in the judgment in relation to the paedophilia disclosure and you might think that this was an odd comment when he said
“ in one particular case someone reasonably well-known on the island was arrested for potential paedophilia offences. A computer was seized from the individual but returned without being examined. Ultimately no action was taken against the individual, though the claimant is utterly convinced that it should have been, and that the failure so to do has been covered up. We have made sure that we do not know the identity of that individual, and we can form no view as to whether the claimant is right or not.”
Irrespective of what should have happened to the two suspected paedophiles, one of whom was already known to the police, Employment Judge Housego has omitted to mention that the disclosure was in relation to police corruption where Mr Dave Stewart ordered the return of the computer that I had seized the same day to the suspected paedophile before it had been forensically examined and of other related incidents in the same case including tipping off the suspect.
Mr Stewart has since retired and is the leader of the Isle of Wight Council and also Chair of the Police and Crime Panel.
Further evidence has also come to light despite Hampshire Constabulary's attempt to frustrate the connected High Court matter with regards to disclosure, these additional documents also form part of the present employment tribunal case and were documents also said to be deliberately concealed from the previous employment tribunal hearing chaired by Part Time Employment Judge Housego.
Whilst the judgment is lengthy and I will deal with that in a separate post, I would like to summarise some of the concerns that I had relating to the conduct of the employment tribunal hearing.
I am presently trying to have further claims transferred to another region as we appear to be going down the same route with my applications either being ignored or refused. I have informed the tribunal that I have no confidence in receiving a fair hearing in the South West Region.
Brief summary of some of my concerns
I provided a copy of a surveillance video to the tribunal, the relevance was that it showed that a PSD officer lied and embellished his witness statements. He had made one statement and then appears to have been instructed to make another which embellished his first statement.
Part Time Employment Judge Housego took the video home to view it and then said after having viewed it that it no longer played. A further copy was offered but refused and Mr Housego said he would tell the lay members what it showed.
Hampshire Constabulary failed to call the officer DC Plummer and the tribunal failed to make a witness order so I was unable to question the officer.
The same officer had also been given the lowest form of discipline previously for the manner in which he took a statement from a witness which was also suppressed, discrepancies with recording my property some of which went missing not least the downloaded content of my laptop and a dictaphone which contained details of a meeting that I had with now Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen.
I had my home raided and was arrested exactly one week before a Preliminary hearing for an employment tribunal case and the officers had gone through legally privileged documents including my employment tribunal correspondence.
Suppression of documents has been a common theme throughout these proceedings which; no Judge has so far got to grips with or are reluctant to make relevant orders for whatever reason.
There was concern in any event that the Tribunal had been moved to Havant from Southampton as it was less accessible to the public. At the hearing there was drilling in progress in the building and a member of the public subsequently wrote to the Tribunal Judge as he was unable to hear Chief Constable Kernaghan who was also softly spoken when giving evidence.
The layout of the Tribunal was not in the usual format having been converted from a Magistrates Court where I was effectively sitting adjacent to the witnesses giving evidence.
The Chief Constable attempted to intimidate me by asking rather than responding to questions on occasion and DCC Readhead was a senior officer who had previously threatened me at my home address.
I raised this at the time with the usher but no efforts were made to rearrange the seating arrangements.
The time available for presenting my case was considerably reduced resulting in my being unable to call witnesses.
A large amount of my time was taken up by Employment Judge Housego’s involvement in talking to witnesses either in evidence in chief or cross examining my witnesses before I had an opportunity to do so resulting in my being distracted and unable to follow my prepared line of questioning.
Whilst it was apparent that my mental health condition was deteriorating, I was fatigued and had to work extended hours with minimal breaks to get through the evidence to try and finish the case on time.
The Judge made it clear he was not prepared to allow the case to go part heard under any circumstances. The Respondent introduced additional witnesses which meant that the presentation of my case was seriously curtailed.
The Judge had been made aware of my daily routine including the necessity for medication. The hearing should have been between 9am and 2pm each day, in reality the time period was extended considerably and the length of time for breaks were reduced, I can recall on one day not having any additional breaks with only 30 min for lunch. What was required were regimented timings to ensure I had a break which was not agreed to and this resulted in my condition deteriorating and being unable to function properly.
The Judge from an early stage did not have an appreciation of my mental health issues and it was clear from the Case Management Discussion and the Judgment that he did not believe my mental health issues affected my performance because I was able to write a report.
There was a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to understand my mental health condition which placed me at a disadvantage as an unrepresented litigant in person.
What was also not taken into account was that my illness was caused by the actions of Hampshire Constabulary over many years in trying to silence me where I had to constantly look over my shoulder.
The appearance of bias or actual bias was evident in a number of ways. This began with the Case Management Discussion in relation to the refusal to consider my application for disclosure as a fresh application and a refusal to review the decision.
I now had to appeal Mr Housego’s decision before the final hearing which was not a good start and he mentioned this during the hearing. During the second week whilst presenting my case I also informed the Judge that I wished to appeal his decision to refuse to allow the evidence of Det Supt Thomas.
The usher named Lyndsey approached my wife and I on the instructions of Employment JudgeJ Housego to ask whether we had called the press. Mr Housego was reluctant to allow the reporter to look at witness statements. A reporter from the press appeared on one occasion. No such questions were asked of the Respondents.
No members of the public attended throughout the whole hearing save for one member of the public who raised concerns with the Judge that he did not feel this was an open and public hearing and that it felt as though the hearing was in secret.
The Judge would in the main address the Respondent’s representative Mr Self and explained this initially by inferring that there was often banter between legally qualified persons.
However; this continued throughout the hearing including when we returned following the break where Mr Housego had attended a course with Chief Constable Kernaghan.
When applications were made to introduce documents by the Respondent they were generally approved however; in my case it was a case of if they were considered relevant as the case went on the Judge would reconsider his refusal but he did not do so despite my raising the matter on a regular basis as the case progressed and I needed relevant documents.
The Employment Judge also never challenged the police as to why documents had not previously been disclosed.
There are areas throughout the Judgment where assertions and findings of fact have been made without evidence whilst ignoring relevant documentary evidence and evidence of my witnesses.
A classic one is my competence where I had difficulty in rebutting because the force had suppressed my Performance Development reviews “PDRs”. This was another issue where the Judge simply accepted that the force could not locate them without exploring further.
These documents are all held on computer. Fortunately I had been able to include one which indicated that I was proactive and had received several letters of appreciation for my work. I had also included references from my previous senior officers from the Metropolitan Police where I had received several commendations.
The Tribunal had reached a decision that no reasonable tribunal, on a proper appreciation of the evidence and the law, could have reached.
An “overwhelming case” was made out in my favour and the only way that the Employment Judge could get round this was to provide false information on the Judgment and ignore the evidence of respected and credible witnesses.
There was no challenge to any of the disclosures being qualified or protected or my disclosures being made in good faith.
There was no challenge to the evidence of my witnesses who confirmed and provided evidence that supported my claim that I was dismissed for whistleblowing. The Tribunal had made a finding of fact that I had been dismissed for a reason which was unfair knowing that that a police officer cannot be “unfairly dismissed” unless it is connected to whistleblowing.
The Chief Constable on at least 3 occasions confirmed that despite being aware of my disability had failed to consider the Disability Rights Codes.
The most damning evidence given by former Chief Constable Kernaghan was that he admitted when being questioned was that my wife's business interest was not incompatible which was the reason as given for my actual dismissal (My wife ran a stall on a farmers market).
I had been wrongly dismissed and there was nothing I could do about it at this stage.
In relation to EJ Housego an important discrepancy is the fact that he said initially that he did not say that he would give a decision on the final day of the hearing. The audio recording and written notes contradict this.
In addition to the issue of the lay members of the panel not being shown the video corroborating the fabrication of witness evidence by PSD officers, a further incident took place where I was cut off by the Judge as I attempted to go through the letters of former Detective Superintendent Thomas where this evidence would have turned on its head the predetermined outcome of Mr Housego for the reason the force unfairly dismissed me.
Mr Housego did not want the lay members to hear this evidence.
The EAT decision as far as I am concerned is based on a misleading judgment and my concerns have since been proved correct with regards to documents which had been suppressed and have now been discovered which; would have made it very difficult for Mr Housego to go along the line which he did which appeared to be to try and protect the Chief Constable and reputation of Hampshire Constabulary.
The latest employment tribunal case concerns the suppression of those documents and the failure of the present Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney to investigate her Professional Standards Department or hold her present Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen to account.
We appear to be going down the same route and it is important for all whistleblowers to understand that despite all the publicity surrounding whistleblowing, you will be left on your own and your life from then on will change.