Investigatory Powers Tribunal judges, who heard Kate Wilson’s human rights case against the Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chief’s Counsel, have awarded significant damages to Kate, for breaches of five of her human rights, that include payment for four years of legal costs.
The judgement found that the deployment of undercover officer Mark Kennedy, and five other officers, into Kate’s life and political movements ‘….was not necessary in a democratic society and not proportionate’ and was ‘…not in accordance with the law’. Damning findings by three senior judges.
What has been under-reported, with the focus on misogyny in the police and their failure to protect women from sexual misconduct by their officers is the finding that Mark Kennedy’s operation and the deployments of five other undercover officers breached Kate’s political rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.
With protest rights under attack by the introduction of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, these findings have enormous contemporary significance.
“It is important to note the IPT compensation is not about the relationship I was deceived into by Mark Kennedy. That was settled in a Civil Claim back in 2017. It is compensation for the parts of the claim that the police denied right up to the end – how complicit Mark’s managers were, and the role of 5 other undercover officers in violating my political rights, and the fact that they dragged out those denials for 10 years.
The finding that these operations breached the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and were unlawful amounts to a long overdue recognition that spying on protest movement is political policing and has no place in a democratic society. It is important, because it goes beyond the scandal of undercover officers deceiving women into intimate relationships. Violating our political rights was the entire reason for these deployments and thousands of people will have had their political rights violated in this way.”