020 8108 7186
4 minutes reading time (758 words)

The Right to have Serious Crimes Properly Investigated by Police Upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the Metropolitan Police breached the rights of two women (known as DSD and NBV) who made allegations of rape against John Worboys by failing to investigate the allegations properly. Two of the women raped by the black cab rapist in 2003 and 2007 had been fighting for justice for four years. When they initially reported the attacks, the police failed to investigate the cases properly, meaning Worboys remained at large – he went on to commit similar offences on over a hundred more women until 2009 when he was eventually arrested and charged.

Liberty, independent campaigners for the protection of basic rights and freedoms, spoke for DSD and NBV, arguing that victims of serious crime have a right to an effective investigation and the right to hold police accountable when serious failings mean justice cannot be served.

Claims were successfully brought under Articles 3, 7 and 8 of the ECHR in the High Court. The police appealed to the Court of Appeal in 2015 focusing on Article 3. They argued that Article 3 does not impose a positive obligation on the MPS to investigate allegations that are serious enough to amount to torture or inhumane and degrading treatment and that any duty does not apply unless the state itself implicated in the allegation. They further argued that even if this duty did exist, on the facts of the case above, there was no breach. 

The Court of Appeal did not accept any of these arguments and held that DSD and NBV's right to protection against inhumane or degrading treatment under Article 3 ECHR had been violated. The police took the case to the Court of Appeal with the backing of the then Home Secretary Theresa May which focused on Article 3 but lost. The police fought all the way to the Supreme Court resulting in a ruling against their plea.

The Supreme Court hearing in 2017 was to rule on two points; The first point is whether there is an obligation to investigate ill-treatment perpetrated by an individual without any involvement of a public authority under section 6 HRA 1998, in line with Article 3 ECHR. Secondly, the Supreme Court was to decide whether that obligation should be confined to establish a structure which will enable the investigation to just take place, or whether it should extend to the conduct of the police in individual crime investigations.

Korau Case

Another case brought against the Metropolitan Police proceeded alongside that of DSD and NBV. Alio Koraou was assaulted in a nightclub; his ear was partly bitten off in the attack, and similarly, numerous failings were found in the police investigation.

Mr Korau’s claim was dismissed by the High Court on the grounds that the circumstances of the case placed it in the margin of what can accurately be described to amount to inhuman or degrading treatment.  The judge considered whether in all the circumstances the investigation carried out by the police was reasonable, and concluded that despite the failings, it was reasonable. The Court of Appeal dismissed Korau's appeal, establishing the courts' certainty on the point that it would be remiss to impose an excessive burden on the police, and that there should be consideration given as to resources available as well as the nature of the offence, and whether the victim was particularly vulnerable. It is therefore not the case that anyone who reports a crime will be able to sue the police for not investigating properly. Lord Mance said on the matter that from the way the European Court explained the assessment of the minimum level of severity it won't be easy to predict where it falls in any individual case.

The Supreme Court's will change the focus of the entire police system, where police must now commit themselves to upholding the rights victims of sexual violence. 

Mark Kelly Sexual Offences Barrister in London, UK

My professional experience, approachability and considerable expertise means that you will be in a very safe pair of hands when it comes to your defence, and my track record is second to none. I consistently obtain favourable results for clients accused of a variety of fraudsexual offences, and financial and regulatory cases.

Serving Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Bristol and the rest of the UK. If you have any queries about issues raised in this blog, or if you want to discuss your case, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me directly on 020 8108 7186 or fill out a contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Concerns over SFO’s New Robot Recruit
The Shifting Landscape of Sexual Offence Convictio.

Online Enquiry

For any enquiries, call the number above or fill in the form below
Invalid Name
Invalid Email
Invalid Telephone
Invalid Message

Please confirm you are not a robot

Invalid Captcha - Please try again

Latest News

19 June 2018

Last month, EY published its 15th Global Fraud Survey, Integrity in the Spotlight – the future of compliance. The results.

08 May 2018

A recent report created by Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, revealed that in 2017 .


Chambers & Partners 2018 - Rated as Band 2

"Noted for his representation of accountants and other professionals in complex fraud cases. He is adept at handling cases concerning carousel fraud, MTIC fraud and banking fraud. Strengths: 'He's analytical and indefatigable.'"

Anonymous - Alleged historic sexual abuse, October 2017, not guilty verdict

"I believe Mr Mark Kelly to be a truly outstanding professional. I felt entirely safe in his hands at all times. The jury reached unanimous not-guilty verdicts on all three charges in less than 45 minutes. I would stress that this testimonial is not based on the outcome alone; I had already expressed my gratitude to Mr Kelly before the final trial day and would have said the same whatever the outcome."