Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fayed's Bill Could Hit [Pounds Sterling]2m as He Loses His Case against Police

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fayed's Bill Could Hit [Pounds Sterling]2m as He Loses His Case against Police

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN FREEMAN

MOHAMED FAYED faces a legal bill of at least pound sterling1million - and possibly twice that - after losing a claim for wrongful arrest today over the alleged theft of the contents of a safety deposit box from his late business rival, Tiny Rowland.

The judge in a High Court case brought by the Harrods boss said police who investigated the alleged theft at the Knightsbridge store had had reasonable grounds to suspect Mr Fayed of theft, jointly with others.

Mr Fayed brought the case against police after being arrested over claims that he had personally ordered his staff to steal from the box. Scotland Yard's 15-month investigation into the alleged theft was dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

But today Mr Justice Cresswell dismissed a claim by Mr Fayed and five of his staff for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

The judge said: " I find that a reasonable man would have been of the opinion that, having regard to the information in the mind of the arresting officer, there were reasonable grounds for suspecting Mr Fayed to be guilty of theft and criminal damage, jointly with others."

Mr Fayed was not in court to hear the judgment but later said he was "appalled" by the decision and instructed his lawyers to launch an immediate appeal.

He now faces the pound sterling1million bill from the Metropolitan Police, which defended the case on behalf of the Commissioner of Police and four officers named in the lawsuit, which lasted three weeks. Mr Fayed will also have his own costs to pay, which could easily double the bill. A legal hearing in October will determine the exact issue of costs awarded.

Neither Mr Fayed nor his associates gave evidence at the hearing, in which only "exemplary" damages of less than pound sterling1,000 were sought from police.

Mr Fayed was arrested in March 1998 along with Harrods security director John Macnamara - a former Scotland Yard detective - and four other Harrods staff. …

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