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This has never been about money; Ex-PC speaks out after pounds 400k damages victory.

Byline: SOPHIE BARLEY

A FORMER police officer will receive at least pounds 400,000 in damages after he was wrongfully sacked and jailed for a crime he did not commit.

Sultan Alam's 17-year battle to fight for justice is almost at an end after he was told yesterday that he will receive pounds 399,660 in compensation from Cleveland Police. And he could still receive a further sum of up to pounds 400,000 for his loss of future earnings.

Cleveland Police admits liability after Mr Alam, from Middlesbrough, was convicted of a crime he did not commit - handling stolen goods - as a result of a "malicious prosecution" brought by his colleagues.

Four officers were later charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice but were cleared in court.

Out of the compensation Mr Alam has been awarded, pounds 65,000 of it has come in the form of exemplary damages - which will be paid for out of Cleveland Police's pocket rather than through the force's insurance.

Speaking today from Pakistan, Mr Alam, 49, told the Gazette: "I don't want to say that I am pleased with the compensation as this has never been about money.

"I loved my job and I looked forward to progressing in my career. But the only way the courts can compensate me now is by using a pound sign.

"In the damages hearing, exemplary damages was something I was pushing for as that was the only way Cleveland Police could be truly punished, as that was the only part of the damages that they had to pay. I think that figure will come as a blow to them."

Judge Andrew Keyster is still deciding on what rank the former traffic officer could have achieved if his career had not been interrupted.

In the damages hearing held earlier this month at Leeds Crown Court, Mr Alam said he believes he could have made his way through the ranks as far as being made a chief superintendent.

However, during the hearing, Temporary Chief Superintendent Ian Richards told the court that there was no evidence that Mr Alam would have achieved "any rank higher than a sergeant".

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "Cleveland Police are pleased to confirm the conclusion today of Mr Alam's claim for compensation, although the finer details are yet to be finalised.

"The events under investigation occurred many years ago and their impropriety was recognised by current senior management by the early admission of liability made on behalf of the present chief constable at the outset of this case. The award of compensation to Mr Alam now draws a line under this unfortunate matter. We wish Mr Alam well for the future."

Mr Alam cleared his name and got his job back in 2007 when Appeal Court judges quashed his conviction and ruled that officers suppressed evidence and misled courts. He retired on medical grounds in 2009.

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17-YEAR LEGAL BATTLE: Former police officer Sultan Alam, above Picture by PETER REIMANN
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2012
Words:500
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