Former Wiltshire Police officer fails in costs bid over shotgun licence confiscation

5:05pm Tuesday 3rd June 2014

A former police officer who had his shotgun licence confiscated, then returned, has failed in a bid to have his legal costs paid for him.

Paul Filer, who still works for the force in a civilian role, wanted Wiltshire Police to foot the bill for his challenge to the initial ruling.

But Judge Douglas Field rejected the application after being told it could only succeed if the force had acted in bad faith or unreasonably.

Filer had his certificate revoked by police following a report of domestic violence and receiving a letter from his GP saying he was under stress at home and work.

The letter said that he was getting tired following a heart attack and under stress at work, because his relationship was breaking up and court cases he was going through.

However, once he heard what the doctor said he got him to clarify that the litigation he was worried about involved a family member, not him.

And he said he was under no stress at work, and the officer investigating him could have checked with his line manager, who is a colleague.

Adam Feest, for Filer, of Devizes Road, Trowbridge, said the police did not act reasonably as it was within their power to find out the truth about the stress.

They could have contacted the GP for clarification and also liaised with the department he worked in to find out about work.

But ruling against him Judge Douglas Field, sitting at Swindon Crown Court on Wednesday, said the force had been acting reasonably by revoking the licence on the strength of the first letter from the doctor.

And he said they had also done the right thing by returning it soon as it became apparent the doctor had written his letter without fully understanding the situation.

He said: "Hindsight is a wonderful think and, of course, it would have been possible to make inquiries with his manager it does not mean they have acted so unreasonably that they should be penalised with costs."


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