No breach of ECHR, art 8 where police officer disclosed address of witnesses where they failed to appear in court


Re: CLG & Ors v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police [2015] EWCA Civ 836

The appellants challenged the dismissal of their claim for damages resulting from the disclosure of their address to the accused in criminal proceedings. Their previous home had had shots fired through the front door, and they were subsequently required to give evidence in court. However, they failed to appear, and a police officer thus gave a statement supporting the issue of a warrant for their arrest, which referred to their new address. This statement was later used by the CPS in the case against the accused, and so was served on those representing him.
The appellants argued that the police owed a common law duty of care to them, that the statement made by the officer was subject to witness immunity and that their ECHR, art 8 rights had been breached. However, the Court held among other things, that the actions of the police all formed part of their core function of obtaining and preserving evidence, in the discharge of which they did not owe a duty of care to the public at large. It also did not believe that there had been a breach of art 8, as the disclosure of information to the CPS had been in accordance with law and necessary to achieve the legitimate aim of preventing crime.
Tim Owen QC was involved in this case.