Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police Lawyer's 'Fair Dismissal' FORMER LEGAL CHIEF OF FORCE HAS CLAIM REJECTED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Police Lawyer's 'Fair Dismissal' FORMER LEGAL CHIEF OF FORCE HAS CLAIM REJECTED

Article excerpt

Byline: KEIRAN SOUTHERN Reporter keiran.southern@trinitymirror.com @KeiranSouthern

A DISGRUNTLED former Northumbria Police legal chief has had her unfair dismissal case thrown out following a string of embarrassing allegations against the force.

Denise Aubrey was the force's top legal mind when she was sacked for gross misconduct in 2014.

She was accused of gossiping about alleged affairs between senior members of the organisation.

The 54-year-old denied the claims and said the allegations were common knowledge among staff.

During the hearing, it was said rumours of an affair between exchief constable Mike Craik and assistant chief constable Carolyn Peacock led to her police officer husband punching him at a barbecue.

This allegedly led to Mr Craik's wife pulling an emergency cord at their Northumberland home, which alerted armed police.

It was said Mr Craik ordered the incident be deleted from the police log.

The trio denied all of the allegations. More lurid accusations were made during the hearing, including that officers used force accommodation as "love pads."

Ms Aubrey was said to have told people then assistant chief constable Greg Vant had an affair with Mr Craik's secretary.

This was also denied by Mr Vant. The purpose of the employment tribunal was not to decide on the truth behind the damaging rumours but to decide whether Ms Aubrey had been unfairly dismissed.

The panel dismissed the claims of sexual harassment and said Ms Aubrey's conduct at the time warranted the disciplinary charges and her suspension.

Ms Aubrey had complained of a glass ceiling but the tribunal found her position in the police force - in that she was not an officer and was therefore naturally excluded from reaching certain posts - was the reason for the ceiling.

The tribunal panel ruled: "Her frustration over the lack of career development for her had nothing to do with her sex - it had everything to do with her occupation. She had reached her ceiling."

Claims of discrimination on the grounds of sex were described as "fanciful" by the panel.

The judgment said: "We accept the disclosure was made to staff who were themselves bound by professional and contractual duties of confidentiality. …

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