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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> M, R (on the application of) v Commissioner Of Police For Metropolis  EWCA Civ 1825 (27 November, 2001)
Cite as:  EWCA Civ 1825
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IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
(Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Poole)
Tuesday 27th November, 2001
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE LONGMORE
|ON THE APPLICATION OF M|
|- v -|
|COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS|
|ON THE APPLICATION OF LEON LA ROSE|
|- v -|
|COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE METROPOLIS|
Smith Bernal Reporting Limited, 190 Fleet Street,
London EC4A 2AG
Tel: 020 7421 4040
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
THE RESPONDENT did not appear and was not represented
Crown Copyright ©
"The practice of the Defendant as demonstrated by his conduct on 9.10.00 and 12.10.00 and by the evidence filed in this case was unlawful in that:
(1) it amounted to a failure to follow his own policy, or alternatively,
(2) it amounted to an unlawful disappointment of a legitimate expectation arising out of such policy."
"If a designated room does not exist or is not available, a suitable alternative must be considered. It is impossible to envisage that a taped interview room could never be safely used for any private consultation without damage being caused to the equipment, particularly if some relatively straightforward modifications are made, such as a viewing panel, a cover for the tape recorder and the installation of an alarm. Furthermore, suspects should never be left alone unsupervised (either by the solicitor or police).
13. Use of police cells must be a last resort. Their relative isolation and degree of access may put the legal representative at risk and in any event it would be asking them to work in less than suitable conditions. Cell conditions generally are not conducive to a proper consultation, privacy cannot easily be demonstrated or guaranteed. Either party may feel intimidated or threatened particularly if they of the opposite sex and allegations of impropriety would reflect badly on the Metropolitan Police Service."
"Inspector Roberts' document was a Branch Note, a Briefing Note, aspirational, hortatory in character, and entirely lacking in the authoritative provenance which would justify its description as a Policy Document. Mr Husain, perhaps recognising this, submitted that it did not matter what we called it: was it intended to be acted upon? Well, no doubt Inspector Roberts and his colleagues hoped it would be. But we saw no evidence of any obligation that Superintendent James and his colleagues, whether at Tottenham or Hornsey, might be under to adopt it. But, in any event, submitted Mr Beggs, the Defendant did not breach it. It was a statement of best practice, and one to be applied to the existing realities at police stations, architectural, operational or otherwise."
"At 12.35, I made the following entry [I interpose that is in the custody record] `Solicitor informed by me that the interview room is not suitable for the purpose of a consultation. A review of health and safety conducted which indicated that interview rooms are the least safest place to conduct an interview. Also tape machines have been damaged and interviews lost. Chief Supt JAMES has indicated each case should be looked at on its merits. The safety of all parties concerned are of paramount importance. Use of the interview room declined.'"
"The police building stock on the Borough, particularly the custody suite at Tottenham, is largely Victorian. I caused an instruction to be issued to custody officers regarding the need to conduct a health and safety assessment before deciding where a solicitor and client consultation should take place. This instruction takes into account the need to balance the rights of a detained person with the needs of my own officers and standards of professionalism.
7. In my opinion it is undesirable to permit the use of soundproofed operational areas of a custody suite,, namely rooms which are specifically set aside for the conduct of tape recording of interviews as required by PACE, for solicitor and client consultations. The rooms are in use for much of the time for the purpose for which they were and are intended. Allowing the use of these interviews rooms, of which there are only 2 at Tottenham, may result in interviews being conducted and thus cause suspects to be detained for longer than is reasonably necessary."
"I do not believe in keeping people in custody for longer than it is reasonably necessary and I am well aware that it is wrong in law to do so. As a practical matter, we have only 7 cells and 2 detention rooms available at Tottenham police station which is a very busy police station. We do not therefore have the space to keep many people in custody.
9. There are no rooms set aside at either Tottenham or Hornsey police stations specifically for the use of solicitors and their clients, for consultation purposes. Solicitors do sometimes ask if they can use the rooms set aside by us for tape recorded interviews, as required by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Usually, permission is denied. The reasons for this are that the rooms are sound-proof and do not have panic alarms installed. The rooms have no window through which the conduct of the prisoner can be monitored. Both tape rooms are nearly always busy being used for the purpose for which they are designed i.e. conducting taped interviews.
10. In addition to people arrested and brought to the station, we have many people each day returning to the station on bail for interview. We cannot unreasonably delay interviews simply in order to allow the interview rooms to be used for consultation. It is to be remembered that we are under time restraints imposed by PACE for prisoners, and thus the 2 interview rooms must be kept clear for interviews."
"Declaration that the defendant acted unlawfully."