Mr Matthew McConville, the Head of our specialised Data Breach Department at Irvings Law has successfully represented a client in a data breach compensation claim. The said client wishes himself to be unnamed for the purposes of this case report and as such will be referred to as ‘Mr S’.
On 13th September 2019, Mr S was arrested by Police Officers from Cheshire Constabulary on suspicion of Assault and Domestic Violence and taken to Blacon Custody Facility. During his time in custody, Mr S’ mother contacted the on duty custody officer to enquire about Mr S in being released as soon as possible. During this said conversation comments were made in relation to concerns for Mr S’ mental health (as he was already undergoing treatment for mental health problems). Subsequently, Mr S was released with bail conditions and the CPS later dropped these allegations/charges.
At the above time, Mr S was involved in family proceedings with his ex-wife and she was seeking an Injunction against him to prevent contact between him, her and their children. As such, the ex-wife’s Solicitors (cheekily) requested a copy of Mr S’ bail conditions to support their Injunction application.
During the said Injunction hearing, Mr S learnt that Cheshire Constabulary had disclosed a copy of his full custody record to his ex-wife and her Solicitors. This custody record and the mention of family concerns for Mr S’ mental health was used against Mr S in the said Injunction Application. Unfortunately for Mr S, the application was successful and resulted in Mr S initially being unable to see his children before then later being able to see his children under supervised conditions.
Following the discovery of the said data breach, Mr S discussed the same with Cheshire Constabulary and they confirmed via an email dated 21st October 2019 that “it was with deep regret that the [custody] record was released in error by the Custody Investigation Department”. Subsequently, Mr S submitted a data breach complaint to Cheshire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department and in response, they apologised for this mistake and the distress it has caused to Mr S following a genuine error by an inexperienced officer who was given incorrect advice. After such an incident, all those concerned have been given appropriate management action and Cheshire Constabulary have no doubt learnt from this.
As Cheshire Constabulary had done this, Mr S sought expert assistance from Mr McConville. Without hesitation, Mr McConville offered to act for Mr S on a no win, no fee basis and once instructed, Mr McConville lodged a Letter of Claim to Cheshire Constabulary. It was abundantly clear to Mr McConville that Cheshire Constabulary erroneously disclosed personal information pertaining to Mr S without consent which they admitted and apologised for doing.
Mr McConville specifically alleged that Cheshire Constabulary had not kept Mr S’ sensitive information safe and secure, they had breached / invaded his privacy under the Human Rights Act, had breached the Data Protection Act 2018/the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as confidence following their misuse of private information pertaining to Mr S.
Following receipt of this Letter of Claim and after admitting liability, Cheshire Constabulary offered Mr S £500.00 plus his legal costs to settle his claim. In response and following Mr McConville’s advice, Mr S rejected the same and commenced formal legal proceedings. Before serving the same, Mr McConville engaged in various without prejudice discussions with Cheshire Constabulary regarding settlement and eventually managed to secure Mr S a global settlement of just over £13,000.00.