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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
No award in Ashley killing case
James Ashley
James Ashley was shot during a police raid in January 1998
A policeman who was suspended after a fatal shooting during a bungled raid has had an injuries award blocked by the High Court.

Kevin French, of Eastbourne, was one of three senior officers cleared of wrongdoing after James Ashley, 39, died during the 1998 raid by Sussex Police.

Mr French claimed mental trauma had damaged his health and the injuries were received while he was on duty.

But the judge said he could not be said to have been "on duty" while suspended.

Mr French, who is now retired, was suspended from duty while facing both criminal and disciplinary proceedings following Mr Ashley's death.

Police had thought Mr Ashley was armed when they stormed his house in Hastings in January 1998 and shot him as he got out of bed.

Police appeal

The raid had been part of an investigation into an attempted murder and alleged drugs trafficking.

Allowing an appeal by Sussex Police Authority, Mr Justice Collins said a doctor appointed to assess Mr French's case under police pensions regulations had "got it wrong in the law".

Dr Nicholas Cooling had found that Mr French, a former chief inspector with more than 30 year's experience, was "permanently disabled from performing his ordinary police duties".

In a report, the doctor said Mr French had told him that being suspended for a second time in 2001 after disciplinary proceedings were started "completely destroyed" him.

The proceedings were withdrawn two years later after no evidence was offered against him.

Self defence

Dr Cooling put the disablement at 53%, entitling Mr French to an injury award, in addition to his pension.

Quashing his decision, the judge said the case would have to be reheard in the light of his judgement.

The shooting of Mr Ashley led to the chief constable at the time, Paul Whitehouse, resigning.

Mr French, then an acting detective chief inspector, Supt Christopher Burton and Det Insp Christopher Siggs were cleared of misfeasance in office at Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2001 after the trial judge ordered that not guilty verdicts be entered.

Police marksman Chris Sherwood, who was said to have fired the fatal shot, was cleared of unlawful killing after he said he had fired in self defence.

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