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Police legal chief accused of breaching confidentiality over alleged affairs

Published 26/05/2016

Former Northumbria Police legal head Denise Aubrey was accused breaching confidentiality over alleged affairs
Former Northumbria Police legal head Denise Aubrey was accused breaching confidentiality over alleged affairs

A police head of legal services breached confidentiality by telling colleagues about senior officers' alleged affairs to prove how close she was to the men, a tribunal has heard.

Denise Aubrey, 54, has brought a claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination and harassment against her former employers Northumbria Police.

She was sacked for gross misconduct in 2014 despite 20 years service, after apparently telling staff details of the allegations involving ex-Chief Constable Mike Craik.

Rumours had circulated in the force that in 2007 Mr Craik had an affair with Assistant Chief Constable Carolyn Peacock, and that her husband Jim punched him at a barbecue.

It was also said that this information was covered up.

Mr Craik and the Peacocks continue to deny the allegations.

Ms Aubrey was also said to have disclosed information that Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant had an affair with Mr Craik's secretary.

Mr Vant has denied that they got together at work, and has stated that their relationship only started when they left Northumbria Police.

Ms Aubrey, in her role as director of legal services, gave professional advice at the time about both allegations.

On the final day of the tribunal in North Shields, North Tyneside, Angus Moon QC, for the police, made closing submissions about Ms Aubrey's alleged disclosure of confidential information.

He said: "She made reference to the personal conduct of the two named former chief officers, Mr Craik and Mr Vant.

"She did so in order to demonstrate how good her relationship with these former chief officers had been.

"She had no proper grounds to share that information.

"And she shared that information based on her direct professional role as a lawyer in the force.

"Her personality has led her to continue to breach professional boundaries by alleging that her former client, Mr Craik, lied to her in the instructions he gave her in 2007.

"She has compounded that unprofessional behaviour by successfully contending that Mr Craik's name should be revealed in the media.

"This is her personality, it is nothing to do with illness or disability."

Ms Aubrey has told the hearing she suffered from mental health issues.

She also said she was bullied by current Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who was deputy at the time.

Mr Moon said: "The documentary evidence is inconsistent with the suggestion that he was an officious bully determined to get rid of the claimant."

The tribunal continues this afternoon when Daphne Romney QC will make closing submissions for the claimant.

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