Ex-legal chief relieved after fearing tribunal loss would cost her home
A former legal chief who feared having to sell her home after she lost a controversial employment tribunal has spoken of her relief at only having to pay a police force £15,000 costs.
Denise Aubrey's employment tribunal led to a series of embarrassing allegations being aired about Northumbria Police, including details of alleged affairs between senior staff, claims of a punch up at a barbecue and public money being spent on a cover-up.
She lost her claim and the force initially sought her to pay costs of £645,000.
But a judge has found she should pay only a fraction of that amount, £15,000, which the force said would now be spent on policing.
Ms Aubrey claimed the force has spent more than £100,000 in legal expenses trying to reclaim their costs from her.
The former head of legal services, who worked for Northumbria Police for 20 years before she was sacked for gross misconduct, said she would have been bankrupted if she had been ordered to pay £645,000.
She said: "I have lived through 18 months of hell and lived in terror of losing my house and everything I ever worked for."
Ms Aubrey said the force was "disingenuous" when it said the £15,000 would be put back into policing when it had spent around £100,000 on the costs hearing.
In an earlier statement Northumbria Police said: "It would have been unconscionable for us not to seek reimbursement on behalf of our local communities and this much-needed money will now be reinvested back into policing.
"The decision by the judge allows us to move on and do what we do best, to protect the people of Northumbria and serve our local communities with pride."
The costs application was made before the tribunal panel during a hearing in Leeds last month.