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Legal action taken against police after proof of innocence was hidden from defence (1998)

A man who was wrongly convicted of serious sex offences against a young boy is to sue Humberside Police for damages.

The Court of Appeal yesterday decided to take no action against the police after quashing John McLoughlin’s conviction in June. But his solicitor, Mr Paul Holland, said legal action would continue against the force.

Mr Holland said: “The Court of Appeal’s statement is disappointing, particularly given the robust way in which the Judges dealt with the appeal at the time.

“However, I am now instructed by Mr McLoughlin to continue with his claim for damages against Humberside Police which, in the particular circumstances of this case, will include a claim for aggravated damages.”

At the hearing in June, the Appeal Court heard how Mr McLoughlin, 28, of Porlock Drive, Hull, was educationally subnormal and had readily agreed to suggestions put to him by the police during the investigation ten years ago.

He was interviewed without the presence of a solicitor and eventually signed a confession written for him while in police custody

He was convicted on the strength of the confession after similar charges against two co-accused were dropped because of the unreliability of witnesses.

Mr McLoughlin was given two years probation.

But the Appeal Court heard vital statements had not been disclosed to the defence at the time of his trial.

These included the full record of a police interview with Mr McLoughlin and the fact that a witness had withdrawn his allegations against him.

The missing statements were only uncovered several years after the trial by a team of officers from South Yorkshire Police who had been called in to investigate Humberside’s handling of an inquiry into allegations of Satanic child sex abuse.

Mr Holland said: “The crucial description used in the Appeal Court argument was that John McLoughlin was ‘vulnerable’.

“It is the duty of the law to protect vulnerable members of our society. In that respect, the law failed him.”

Assistant Chief Constable (Operations) Gordon Clark said: “Humberside Police have noted the comments of the Court of Appeal.

“We have fully co-operated with the court in providing additional information. The appeal process is now finished and we consider the matter is now closed.”

About DarrenMWinter (53 Articles)
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