Lincolnshire Police's Temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes has gone to the High Court to challenge the decision by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick to suspend him earlier this year.
“Whilst I accept today’s decision, I must emphasise that the Court’s interpretation
of the information I received is very different to mine. My concern is that in future,any decision made by a Police and Crime Commissioner which could be considered contentious, is likely to be open to challenge in the courts. The investigation into the serious allegations is still ongoing under the direction of Sir Peter Fahy.”
– Alan Hardwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
Responding to today’s High Court Decision in Manchester to quash the suspension of Neil Rhodes, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said:
After the decision by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) not to investigate this matter, this verdict by the High Court in Manchester should be seen as a reality check for Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) up and down our Country. Commissioners need to think long and hard before taking the decision to suspend a Chief Constable and as my initial reservations have borne out; this case just goes to show there are always two sides to every story.
The temporary Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police has today won the right to return to work after a High Court judge ruled he should not have been suspended for the way he handled a race discrimination claim.
Neil Rhodes was suspended by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Hardwick, in February. However, a High Court judge in Manchester today ruled the decision was "irrational and perverse" and quashed Mr Rhodes' suspension .
It is claimed he helped a senior Muslim lawyer from another force use his ethnicity to pursue damages following his dismissal. Mr Rhodes strenuously denied any wrong-doing and asked a judge at the High Court in Manchester to grant a judicial review so he could get it quashed.
The suspension of Lincolnshire's Chief Constable Neil Rhodes has been quashed. A judge at the High Court in Manchester has called Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick's shock decision to suspend Mr Rhodes two months ago as "irrational and "perverse."
Lincolnshire's Temporary Chief Constable has gone to court to fight the decision to suspend him earlier this year. Neil Rhodes was removed from his job by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner following allegations that, until today, had not been publicly discussed.
But Mr Rhodes has spent the day trying to convince a High Court judge to overturn his suspension.
The High Court in Manchester has finished hearing evidence in the claim by Lincolnshire's Chief Constable for a judicial review into the decision for him to be suspended earlier this year. Neil Rhodes was removed from his post by the Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick in February.
Judge Justice Stuart-Smith said the dispute boiled down to "a case of integrity" and adjourned the hearing until tomorrow morning when he plans to give his verdict.
The legal team representing Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has told a court in Manchester it was "entirely rational" to suspend the Chief Constable Neil Rhodes while the allegations against him were being investigated.
Where serious allegations are pending it would be in the public interest of the force for him to be suspended.
– Derek Sweeting QC, acting for Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner
The High Court has been told how Lincolnshire's temporary Chief Constable was suspended after he "friended" West Yorkshire Police lawyer Afzal Hussain, who was dismissed from the force after 17 years and was suing his former employer.
The court heard that Neil Rhodes then became involved in the proceedings. He was suspended by Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick following a letter from Fraser Sampson, the solicitor to the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire in which he stated:
Temporary Chief Constable Rhodes has been complicit in the pursuit of racial discrimination claims which are a 'contrivance' and which he knows to be untrue and only pursued as leverage. This is an extremely serious allegation going to fundamental honesty and integrity.
– Fraser Sampson, solicitor to the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
But Mr Rhodes legal team argued in court that the Chief Constable acted in good faith by trying to get the parties involved around the table saying:
Temporary Chief Constable Rhodes denies the essential imputation advanced against him [and] did not know enough about Mr Hussain's claim to offer any opinion on it. Temporary Chief Constable Rhodes believes that Mr Hussain believes, rightly or wrongly, that his dismissal was based on discrimination.
– John Beggs QC, acting for Temporary Chief Constable Neil Rhodes
Lincolnshire's Temporary Chief Constable has gone to court to argue that his suspension by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner is unlawful. Neil Rhodes was removed from his post in February though it is only today that the full details behind that suspension have been made public.
It is claimed Neil Rhodes helped a Muslim lawyer from West Yorkshire Police to use his ethnicity to pursue damages following his dismissal. Mr Rhodes denies any wrong-doing saying his suspension is "unlawful" and he has today asked a High Court judge to grant a judicial review to get it quashed.