A former police officer who partly won a sex discrimination claim against Police Scotland is appealing — on the grounds her employment tribunal ignored evidence and failed to explain decisions.
The tribunal found Karen Harper was victimised by a sergeant who passed potentially damaging information about her “in retaliation” after she accused him of bullying.
However, it rejected the whistleblower’s allegation that her bullying complaint was also the reason she was targeted in an extensive criminal investigation.
In his original judgment in February, tribunal judge Mark Whitcombe said it was “purely coincidental” the investigation was launched two weeks after she lodged her complaint in 2015.
Ms Harper, from Dumfries, had 22 years’ service before retiring through ill health in 2017.
In the appeal submission, Ms Harper’s lawyer Mark Allison claims there was a “failure by the tribunal to have regard to material evidence” and that it “failed to record their decision and give adequate reasons”.
Ms Harper was off duty when she allegedly intervened in an argument between her ten-year-old son and another boy, who claimed she shouted at him.
She was not told about the investigation or asked for her side of the story and later discovered two inspectors approached nine of her neighbours and her ex-husband Bruce, a former sergeant.
Ms Harper’s appeal argues that element of the investigation were “incomprehensible” and “went beyond legitimate enquiry, and amount to a fishing expedition”.
It alleges the Glasgow tribunal “either misunderstood the evidence before it” or “failed to scrutinise and given reasoned analysis” in relation to the explanations given by police witnesses.
Had it done so, the tribunal should have concluded “in the absence of a legitimate purpose” the reason for the visit was because of the bullying complaint.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said they were unable to comment due to the legal process being live while Ms Harper also declined to comment.
Her lawyer Mr Allison, of Livingstone Brown, said: “Ms Harper was pleased with the unequivocal findings by the tribunal both that she had been subjected to unlawful victimisation by a senior police officer and that the subsequent procedure was unfair and inconsistent with Police Scotland’s own policies and procedures.
“Nevertheless there are aspects of the judgment that Ms Harper takes issue with.
“On the basis of legal advice, it is felt that there are reasonable grounds for challenging those decisions and that process is under way.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country