PAT Panel Allows The Appeal of Detective inspector George Bardell Of West Yorkshire Police

RULING (summarised) OF THE POLICE APPEALS TRIBUNAL
Having read and considered the papers and arguments in this matter the decision of the PAT is that the finding made by the Misconduct Panel was unreasonable and therefore this appeal is allowed. It was agreed by the parties that a full hearing was not necessary, the PAT met on the 25th of January 2021. The PAT was chaired by Sam Stein QC with panel members Chief Constable Darren Martland and Steven Douglass (Rtd. Inspector).
On the 4th of June 2020, a Misconduct Hearing panel made a finding of misconduct against DI Bardell. No penalty was imposed because of the misconduct finding. The Misconduct Tribunal was concerned with allegations made by the IOPC who suggested that there had been failings in the investigation into the death of Riley Siswick, a child.
The background to this Appeal could not be more serious. On the 6th of February 2016 officers of the West Yorkshire Police attended an address in Huddersfield following a report that a 3-year-old child called Riley Siswick had been found unresponsive. Riley was pronounced deceased at hospital a short time later. In 2019 Kyle Campbell was convicted of Riley’s murder and his stepmother Kayleigh Siswick was convicted of causing or allowing Riley’s death. DI Bardell was the Deputy Senior SIO.
In the Grounds of Appeal drafted by Sam Green QC on behalf of the Appellant (2nd September 2020) the point was made that the finding made by the Panel had not been put forward as an allegation by the Respondent. This appeal turned on the question of what was ‘the allegation’ versus what was ‘the finding’ by the Panel.
The allegation before the Misconduct Panel was whether a policy log was kept at all and not whether policy decisions were recorded, fully or otherwise, in the OEL. This point is made clear in the unsigned response from the Respondent at paragraph 5:
“…. the Respondent acknowledges and reiterates that the actual allegation against the Appellant was not that he failed to keep a proper record in the OEL, but rather that he should have kept a separate policy log. Indeed, the Respondent had repeatedly made clear that this was its case”.

The Grounds of Appeal put forward on behalf of DI Bardell were that the finding imposed was unreasonable (Rule 4(4)(a)) and that there was a breach of procedures…or other unfairness which could have materially affected the finding (Rule 4(4)(c)). It was argued that the finding was unreasonable because it related to an allegation not made by the AA and that procedurally there was no opportunity to consider or address the possible finding.
The Rule 11 decision to allow the matter to go forward to the PAT was made on the 3rd of November 2020. The Respondent was requested in the Rule 11 decision to confirm whether the appeal was resisted, and both parties were asked to confirm whether this matter could be dealt with without a hearing. The Respondent, very quickly, confirmed that the appeal was not resisted and both parties agreed that a hearing was unnecessary.
On the 25th of January 2021, the PAT met and discussed this matter. After considering all of the papers we concluded that the decision by the misconduct panel was unreasonable for the reasons set out above as it was based upon an allegation not made by the Respondent, therefore this appeal is allowed.
The PAT would like to add the following comments. Riley Siswick died in horrific circumstances; the criminal justice system has now dealt with those who killed him. Any system of investigation must consider how its own actions, during the investigation, might be considered if they are reviewed.

West Yorkshire Police
  • Stats since 1st January 2022
  • 12 Misconduct Hearings
    92% held in public

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