Peach v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: CA 1986

Statements made to the police about the death of Mr Blair Peach should be disclosed to his mother in her action against the police because, although they were made partly for the purpose of a complaint against the police and so would to that extent, in principle, attract public interest immunity from disclosure, they were made predominantly for the purpose of the investigation by the police of a violent death, to which no such immunity attached.
Fox LJ said: ‘As I understand the position it is the duty of the chief officer of police to convey to the coroner, for the purposes of a public inquest, all material in its possession touching the cause and circumstances of the death . . As a matter of sensible public administration it seems essential that the Coroner should have the material obtained by the police so that he, the Coroner, can decide what witnesses to call and to investigate the matter generally.’
Purchas LJ said: ‘In my judgment, in the class of documents with which we are now faced there is an overwhelming bias in favour of the public interest being served by the disclosure of those documents and that, therefore, there is no justification for creating a new class of privileged documents which would be the effect of extending the class in respect of which Neilson v. Laugharne [1981] Q.B. 736 remains an authority to the class of documents with which the court is concerned in this appeal.’


Fox LJ


[1986] QB 1064, [1986] 2 WLR 1080, [1986] 2 All ER 129


CitedNeilson v Laugharne CA 1981
A claim was made against the Chief Constable of Lancashire for trespass, wrongful imprisonment, false arrest and assault. The Chief Constable’s response to the letter before action was to write to the plaintiff’s solicitors stating he had decided to . .

Cited by:

CitedSugar v British Broadcasting Corporation and Another (2) SC 15-Feb-2012
The claimant sought release of a report prepared by the respondent as to its coverage of the Arab/Israel conflict partly for journalistic purposes, and partly for compliance.
Held: The appeal failed. Where the report was prepared even if only . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Information, Coroners

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.451298