Sultan Alam, a police officer who was wrongfully sent to prison as a result of a malicious prosecution brought by colleagues, found out that he will receive a total compensation package of more than £800,000.
Cleveland Police admitted liability after they were sued by Mr Alam, who has fought for 17 years after he was wrongly prosecuted and convicted.
He was jailed for handling stolen goods in 1996, two years after first being accused of ”car ringing”. He served half of his 18-month sentence behind bars and, once free, began the long battle to clear his name while working as a taxi driver. That culminated in 2007 with him being cleared by the Court of Appeal.
Mr Alam, 49, will receive a total of £841,430 from Cleveland Police, the court heard today. This figure includes various types of damages plus an amount to compensate for the earnings he would probably have made if he had remained as a police officer.
In the civil case Mr Alam brought against the force, the Chief Constable admitted malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office.
Speaking outside the court today, Mr Alam said he was relieved the case was at an end. Asked about the size of the payout, he said: “To me it’s just a number. It was never about the money. “It’s about the principle. It’s about what’s right.
“All that it will do is ensure that my future financially is secure and my children’s future is secure but that would have happened anyway if I had been allowed to continue with my career.”
Mr Alam said: “Seventeen years that should have been spent with family and building a career serving the public have instead been spent fighting for my rights as an individual and fighting for justice against what, at times, appeared to be insurmountable odds.”
He added: “I have had to endure years of shame and humiliation and a stain on my good name…Not only did I lose my career – I lost my freedom, my family unit, my reputation and my health and much, much more.”
The court heard how the former traffic officer was “stitched up” by fellow officers as a result of industrial tribunal proceedings he launched in 1993 complaining of racial discrimination…
No surprise there either. The administration of law and order in many nations provides a system for redress of grievances that shouldn’t take place in the ranks of those who protect law and order.
The reality is – depending upon the political climate, the ideology of the local policing body itself, the courage and honesty of the police force in question – justice can be as scarce for a non-white police officer as a non-white civilian.
The rarity is final victory. For that, we applaud the courage and tenacity of Mr. Alam and the justice of the courts who finally heard his case.