Cleared Leeds lawyer in court action against police

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A lawyer who was put on trial accused of racially abusing a doorman during a dispute at a lap dancing club has been given permission to begin legal action against West Yorkshire Police.

Michael Peters was found not guilty by a jury of racially aggravated behaviour after a trial over the alleged incident at the Red Leopard Club in Leeds.

A year after he was cleared, Mr Peters, 28, has begun High Court proceedings against the force. A judge granted Mr Peters permission to bring a judicial review hearing in which he will challenge West Yorkshire Police’s decision to reject his request to refer officers involved in his arrest to a misconduct hearing. The hearing will also consider his claim that perjury was committed at his trial.

Mr Peters claims officers who arrested him at the club had no “reasonable suspicion” that he was drunk and disorderly. He also claims officers’ statements are undermined by CCTV footage.

A West Yorkshire Police investigation into the incident rejected Mr Peters’s claim that the officers conduct fell below standards of professional behaviour.

Judge Penelope Belcher, sitting at the High Court in Leeds, described a sergeant’s investigation into the March 12 incident as “irrational”. She said: “...the investigation justifies the arrest on a basis other than the grounds on which the officers in fact arrested the claimant.”

Referring to the force’s decision not to investigate the perjury claims, judge Belcher said: “It seems to me that it must follow from my finding that it is arguable that the underlying point has not been properly addressed, that this point is arguable, since the conclusions in relation to perjury are largely linked to the conclusions in relation to arrest.”

Mr Peters said: “I intend to pursue the appropriate action against the officers concerned by way of judicial review. In any event, a civil claim for damages will be issued against West Yorkshire Police for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and misfeasance in public office arising out of the events of March 2012.”

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