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Disabled woman can continue with suing PSNI over flawed criminal investigation

On 7th May 2014 the High Court ruled that a disabled woman can continue with suing the PSNI claiming damages for negligence and breach of her human rights arising from its flawed investigation of her rape case.

The woman, who suffers from autism and Asperger syndrome, claimed she was raped in June 2007.  A subsequent Police Ombudsman report identified serious failings by the PSNI investigating the claim, including not interviewing her until six months after the incident.  The Ombudsman concluded that the PSNI had not even met the basic principles of investigation. 

The PSNI tried to get her claim struck out on the basis that no duty of care breach had been established.  However, the High Court dismissed the PSNI’s application, stating that a full hearing of the woman’s claim is required.  The Court held that the PSNI had not established that her claim was ‘…unarguably or almost incontestably bad’ which would justify striking it out at this preliminary stage.