Around £10,000 is set to be spent on a new lawyer for the police department defending both the force and the crime commissioner in a Scarborough farmer’s lawsuit against them.
North Yorkshire Police admit the temporary solicitor could end up working on the case brought by Bill Edwards, who claims crime tsar Julia Mulligan slurred him in a radio interview.
His solicitor has already slammed the cost of Mr Edwards’ initial criminal case, when attempted murder charges against the farmer – who fired at fleeing burglars – were dropped.
And while the force denies the new recruit has been brought in specifically to deal with his case, Mr Edwards has taken aim at Mrs Mulligan over the comments that will land her in court this January.
“I was horrified at what she said, because nothing she said was true,” he said, about the comments he claims were defamatory.
“We told her straight away and asked her what she was playing at and never received a reply.”
Her comments on BBC Radio York, Mr Edwards claims, have since made it difficult for him to find work. As a result, his lawsuit will be heard at Leeds Crown Court in 2015, where both Mrs Mulligan and the force will be represented by the 20-strong Joint Corporate Legal Services Department.
The temporary lawyer will work there for three months alongside seven other solicitors. Last week, the commissioner’s office denied there was a conflict of interest in Mrs Mulligan – elected to hold the police to account – being represented by the same legal team as the force.
And a North Yorkshire Police spokesperson claims this latest vacancy, which commands a salary of up to £40,206 per annum, arose following an “internal promotion”.
They added: “The cases on which the person taking up role will work have not yet been allocated. However, it possible that they may assist with the case involving North Yorkshire Police and Mr Edwards.
“Their salary will be based on their experience matched against the role’s career plan.
“This plan is publicly available in the application pack for the post, which can be viewed in the vacancies section of the police website.”