When David Lock QC Speaks the World Listens

“Better to illuminate than merely to shine to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”
― Thomas Aquinas

The speaking style of judges in judicial review transcripts can be incredibly hard to decipher, and we know it.  In judgements, the sentences start here, twist there and double back so many times that non-legally trained minds might give up trying to pin down what is being said.

That is why we give a shudder of relief when David Lock shines light on otherwise complicated matters.  For the second time this month we have seen another excellent piece on police injury pension decisions:

The duty on Medical Authorities to resolve factual issues when making police injury pension decisions.

The last opinion piece I posted about police medical pensions has been read nearly 5,000 times. This suggests that there is considerable disquiet

David touches on an much-missed judgement that holds selected medical practitioners to a civil standard of proof – a judgement that we have read before but honestly failed to detect the power of what his Honour Judge Davies said in the 2011 decision of Williams v Merseyside Police Authority.

Mr Williams was the first “anor” in the 2010 Doubtfire & Anor  v West Mercia Police Authority & Anor.  The second “anor” was Merseyside Police.  David Lock was the QC who won both the Doubtfire (and anor) judicial review and the sole Williams judicial review for the former officer.

Police officers with broken minds and bodies suffer huge personally trauma by being injured.  This life changing injury puts an end to not only a career, but a vocation and, sadly, often their family and personal life.  Then the malice that lives in the hearts of police forces places further purgatory by forcing former officers to chase their entitlement by going to court.

Please take a minute to consider that Mr Williams was medically retired on 4th September 2006.   He attended his first judicial review on 30th April 2010.   The second was held 13th April 2011.  Take stock of all the HR letters he has received, the work he has done with his legal team, the assessments he has attended: the intense and full force of the bureaucracy he faced! Just to receive what he has always been due.

Lest we forget the trauma placed upon those injured on duty by police pension authorities.

With due reverence, time to be moving on. Justice Davies started his judgement of the 2011 decision by making reference to the saga that Mr Williams has been forced to endure when he said:

“Mr Williams’ application for an injury pension already has a protracted and unfortunate history.

We’ve talked before about Mr Williams and how the SMPs, Dr Vincenti and Dr Staley, disagreed with each other about the exact name of Mr William’s diagnosis.  You can refresh your knowledge here.

In David Lock’s LinkedIn opinion piece he talks clearly about the grey area between medical and legal decision making.  The piece speaks for itself and we can not do it justice by commentating on it.  We wholeheartedly recommend it as essential reading.  Doctors who work as SMPs should take stock that hiding under the title of doctor does not absolve them from following the law.  Clearly, what has been ruled in previous case law applies to them just as much as it does to the police pension authority.

We will however touch on the Williams case.  It is worth remembering that this concerned an original decision. Specifically, the issue of causation.    Upon review under Regulation 37 the room for manoeuvre of the medical authority is significantly narrower because of the decision of the 2010 Court of Appeal in Metropolitan Police Authority v Laws.

After the 2010 case of Doubtfire the decisions were quashed and Mr Williams had to see the same PMAB (the “Board”) panel for a re-determination.  Bizarrely instead of producing a fresh report, it simply produced an addendum to their original report, entitled “reconsideration following judicial review”.

The case discussion by the Board involved a lot of umming-and-ahhing over what was, and what was not, supported by the evidence.  The Board was attempting to unravel some of the accusations of bullying  and they observed that there was a difference between Mr Williams’ account of events and that of  a Sergeant Hilton and an Inspector Fitzpatrick.

Merseyside lost the judicial review on several points but the most relevant point for us today was that the Board based decisions on one party’s perception of version of events at the expense of the other party.  This is one thing that David touches on in his opinion piece when he says

The SMP and the PMAB is not entitled to rely on the finding of the Force uncritically but needs to form its own view of the truth.

Justice Davies made it clear that the medical authority can not selectively weigh evidence depending on who is the evidence giver. Justice Davies said in the judgement:

 It does however appear, when read with the rest of the letter, that the Board’s approach was that it was only prepared to accept evidence from Mr Williams which was either proved by independent evidence or not disputed by the Authority. It appears that the reference to seeking additional information is a reference back to the difficulty they had in interpreting what Inspector Fitzpatrick had said. However the end result appears to have been that in the absence of additional information they simply took what Inspector Fitzpatrick said at face value and decided the issue against Mr Williams on that basis.

It’s worth contemplating that for a second.  The medical authority would not consider anything not disputed by the police pension authority or not independent.  Such blatant partisan and excessive zeal in refusing to hear the other side of the story, or to refuse the giving of context to dry medical records,  belongs more to the spectacular miscarriages of justice seen in 18th century than the United Kingdom in the 21st Century.

We often hear anecdotal situations where the medical authority (the SMP) blithely casts aside a letter from a patient’s General Practitioner, or where the SMP takes great care to give weight to the force’s submission but states that the patient’s own clinicians would be bias and too over-favourable.

Or an often repeated situation where the SMP refuses to listen to the oral submissions of the former officer sat in front of him and solely only thinks “what is written is truth” and discounts the medical opinion he doesn’t agree with without reasoning why the evidence is rejected. Like the Board in the Williams case, this will always produce a result which was unfair to the former officer, and which is not a decision on the civil balance of probabilities.

An even greater travesty is where the medical authority pre-determines any decision in the to and fro  communication with a HR manager prior to the actual date of the former officer’s assessment.  Such happenings have occurred between Dr Vivian and Staffordshire’s Andrew Colley.

Holding the title of a doctor does not excuse one, when acting as a SMP, in failing to apply the civil standard of proof.

Re-reading the Williams judgement with fresh eyes has been revealing.  We again thank David Lock for shining a light on how the law shall be applied.

 

 

 

 

16 comments

  1. The Met, HR and William ‘poisonous’ Cheng……the noose has just got tighter…….

    When someone has nothing else to lose, it makes them that much more unpredictable to deal with.

    You won’t win this time.

  2. COLLATERAL DAMAGE RECOGNISED!

    It’s not just David Lock’s clear understanding of the law in relation to IODA, but also his understanding of the collateral damage that comes with it.

    PPA’s SMP’s you name it, shut their eyes and ears to such matters, that are every inch as traumatic as the qualifying injuries themselves.

    The Injury may or may not be permanent, but the collateral may well be even more traumatic.

    Divorce, dependents separation, loss of matrimonial home, financial hardship caused by the above, together with stress, emotional trauma, and psychiatric illness are but a few aspects of problematic symptoms associated with IODA retirement.

    One day, someone will test this in court, and those that hurried into rash, financial accounting decisions will rue the day.

    Well done David Lock

    Watch out Avon and Somerset to name but one!

  3. David Lock QC is the voice of reason.

    His interpretation of the law has up to now been spot on. He has won more cases than the found property office at Paddington station.

    When oh when will the official side realise that they cannot keep sniping away at IOD’s without some return of fire.

  4. Another brilliant piece by David Lock. No further comment or embellishment needed.

    I just hope that PPAs, SMPs, FMAs, PMABs and HRs read and understand the meaning

    of his words.

    The Regulations are there to be followed and Case Law has enshrined them in Law.

    Putting their own interpretation on them and disregarding the Law IS NOT AN

    OPTION

  5. Im not going to try and under stand JRs or Barristers as my mind has been destroyed by the police and the chronic PTSI I suffer.

    I do know the Met police purposefully mis diagnosed me, lied about my illness, humiliated me, belittled me and came very close to killing me. I also know they are still playing the same game to save a few quid. In my mind its fairly simple ACPOO pay some HR buffoons to create a bent system. As part of that system they in turn pay criminals (SMPS, FMAS, JOB SHRINKS)to manipulate facts, lie and torture damaged cops.

    I was subject not only to Chengs abuse, but also Pitkannenns and the met FMA Ryan who all operate at he same level go gutter medicine. They are all as vile as each other and there are many more of them all over the UK. They are truly hideous individuals along with there ACPOO employers all of whom are ego driven very sick in humane people.

    Taking lots of money to lie and ignore things is called fraud.

    My PSTSI has come close to killing me, me and my family live with it everyday of our lives.

  6. Dr Vivian, take note. Read carefully. This is aimed at people like you. Willing to listen to your paymasters, to the sufferance of your patients. The very people you promised to take care of.

    Now, I actually think you are a decent doctor beneath it all. I genuinely think you are. Which is why it saddens me to know you are selling your soul.

    I read other people’s views of you but I think you are better than that. You are not a Cheng. You are not a Broome. You’re not even a Johnson.

    You are doctor who as been led astray by a dominant Home Office clone.

    Please go and obtain your INDEPENDENT legal advice, for if you don’t, the buck will eventually end with you. There is no more hiding behind PPAs .

    Let us see you for the decent human being you are.

  7. I was asked to see Vivian I declined.

    Why ?

    Vivian has an atrocious reputation, Broome is even worse and Cheng well……..

    Look at all the recent JR findings against Northumbria, so what’s the common denominator ? Well it’s Dr Broome. Broome understands the law, the law and medical facts don’t matter it’s all about ££££ as long as SMPs are paid and appointed by Police Forces then there will bias and impartiality/fairness will be absent.

    Now Willy Cheng, I have never met the man. What I do know is he thinks every cop is greedy for money etc. It’s like he has a crib sheet.

  8. It’s a bit of a bugger when an IOD pensioner is left hanging out to dry and a Court decision has to be taken because the Forces and the SMP’s cannot reach an unassisted decision on whet the rules and regulations mean regarding disbility.
    Thank God for IODPA and thank God for David Lock who is hammering the truth home every chance he gets!

  9. The process is NOT and never will be independent, whilst SMP’s continue to be contracted to the Police Forces, to provide their services. Then whilst doing so, they engage in numerous pre-assessment discussions, view personal data, letters, files and have visits to NAWF. All weighted to influence them to one point of view, that of the Police Force.
    What other inference can you concur, other than the intention of the Police Force is to influence the opinion of the SMP, either via emails giving their legal views, or possibly by financial ‘pressure’, or biased training.
    Any SMP put into this position should question the morality of the process and if not happy, go without the fee and withdraw. That would be the moral approach of a good Doctor in line with their Hippocratic Oath.

  10. Another great piece by David Locke…why oh why is it still going on!! When will they listen ..if they (SMP and PPA), won’t listen, let’s hope they read this, because enough is enough….interestingly, David Locke points out, that just because an individual does not display symptoms on one particular day, does not mean their disability is ‘better’…I self medicate as required, not when I am told to, and adjust my medication to my daily needs.

  11. Another very well written article by David Lock QC. When will the forces read and digest the advice from the best in the IOD field. Thankfully IODPA have the best and we as injured are fully supportive by both. Time to take stock I’m afraid – there is light at the end of the tunnel. SMP must remain independent and not to make a prediction of alteration before review process and assessment takes place. SMP deals with medical and their legal not the forces PPA should deal with the law. SMPS are not Judge and Jury and should not act as such. Well done IOPA and David Lock QC

  12. “That sympathy, of course, does not extend to any medical authority which adopts an unconscious (or possibly conscious) bias to adapt its decision-making to favour of the party which pays its fees, namely the Force. That is another factor that medical authorities need to be acutely focused upon in order to demonstrate the independence required of the statutory function.”

    I believe this is the crux of the review process problem! An eminent QC has put it in black and white. Maybe the SMPs hired at vast expense (paid for by the taxpayer) by the police forces to do their bidding can inwardly digest these facts! Perhaps they will realise that unless they conduct these reviews honestly and according to the regulations then they are no better than the criminals that police IODs have had to deal with during their service.

  13. Couched in polite language, this is clearly aimed squarely at the likes of infamous and incorrigibly biased SMPs such as Willy Cheng and a few others.

    It is uplifting to see that David Lock’s previous article has been viewed by so many. We can only hope that among that number are some ethical HR managers and senior officers who realise the police injury pension system has been poisoned by the actions of certain medical professionals who should not be allowed to continue to work as SMPs or sit on PMABs.

    Why is Cheng still used as a SMP? Why is he not struck off the GMC register for the large amount of very real mental harm he has done to disabled former officers? He can’t help being a disgrace to the medical profession (has anyone actually checked his qualifications or spoken to his previous employers?) but there is no excuse for forces who continue to employ him.

    For as long as he is on the scene decent HR managers will never be able to convince IOD pensioners that the entire system is not as corrupt as he is.

    Cheng on his own accounts for the majority of appeals to PMABs. Single-handedly he is responsible for directly and indirectly causing unwarranted and avoidable costs to all forces. Because of Cheng all trust in SMPs has been destroyed. The honest unbiased SMPs are all tarred with the same brush because of Cheng. It is well beyond time that he was put out to grass.

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