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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 13:29 GMT
Gun death police in damages claim
James Ashley
James Ashley was in bed when officers opened fire in 1998
Police officers involved in a raid in which an unarmed man was shot dead have gone to the Appeal Court to claim 50,000 damages from Sussex Police.

The five officers suffered psychiatric illness after James Ashley, 39, who grew up in Liverpool, was killed in 1998, appeal judges heard on Monday.

It follows a High Court ruling in 2004 when a judge threw out their bid to sue for alleged "corporate failures".

The High Court did allow them to sue for the uncaring way they were treated.

The stress which arose was caused by being exposed to unfair and unjustified criticism
Robert Glancy QC

The police officers - Supt Chris Burton, Insp Kevin French, Insp Christopher Siggs, Pc Stephen Crocker, and Pc Robert Shoesmith - were all suspended after the incident and later cleared when charges against them were dropped, judges were told.

They are seeking 50,000 each, claiming negligence on the part of Sussex Police.

Robert Glancy QC, representing the officers at London's Appeal Court on Monday, said: "The stress which arose was caused by being exposed to unfair and unjustified criticism, blame, investigation, general suspicion and ostracism as a result of the negligence of the defendant."

'Firearms justified'

He said negligence on the part of the force had led to the raid going "disastrously wrong" when officers stormed the flat in St Leonards and shot Mr Ashley as he got out of bed.

Mr Glancy said his clients did not witness the shooting but were responsible for the organisation and decision for the armed raid.

And he said the nature of the police operation against alleged large-scale drug dealing justified the use of firearms.

Mr Ashley's family are waiting for a ruling from appeal judges on their bid to sue former Sussex Police chief constable Paul Whitehouse for misfeasance - carrying out a legal act illegally - after judgement was reserved.

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01 Feb 06 |  Merseyside
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30 Jan 06 |  Merseyside
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21 Mar 05 |  Southern Counties
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24 Feb 05 |  Southern Counties

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