Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Tuesday, 28 March 2006 12:10 UK

Police told they cannot sue force

James Ashley
James Ashley was in bed when officers opened fire in 1998

Five policemen cleared of blame over the shooting dead of an unarmed man have been refused permission to sue their bosses in Sussex Police.

They claimed to have suffered psychiatric injury because of an alleged failure to train them properly.

The officers helped organise a raid in 1998 in Hastings, East Sussex, in which a naked James Ashley, 39, from Liverpool, was shot dead.

The Court of Appeal ruling throws out their case for 50,000 damages each.

Police thought Mr Ashley was armed when they stormed the house in St Leonards and shot him as he got out of bed.

Duty of care

The five officers, Supt Chris Burton, Insp Kevin French, Insp Christopher Siggs, Pc Stephen Crocker and Pc Robert Shoesmith did not witness the shooting.

But they were all suspended after the incident and were off work for three years.

Charges against all of them were dropped with the exception of Pc Crocker, as the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges against him.

The officers alleged breaches of duty of care by the Chief Constable of Sussex.

At a hearing last month, they asked for permission to appeal against a ruling in the High Court striking out the allegation.

Their counsel, Robert Glancy QC, said that bad methods used by the force had resulted in the drugs raid in which Mr Ashley was shot going "disastrously wrong".

On Tuesday, three appeal judges led by Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said their case had no real chance of success.

The shooting led to the resignation of the Chief Constable at the time, Paul Whitehouse.

In 2001, Pc Chris Sherwood, who was said to have fired the fatal shot, was cleared of unlawful killing.

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24 Feb 05 |  Southern Counties
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22 Jul 04 |  England

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