The daughter of late-night entertainer Des O’Connor has lost a High Court battle with the Metropolitan Police after she complained they failed to address the “predatory and abusive” actions of a detective who called her “amazingly hot”.
Kristina O’Connor, who is in her thirties, was sent numerous “inappropriate messages” by James Mason after he responded to her report of attempted robbery in 2011, the court heard.
She complained about Mr Mason, who was a detective sergeant at the time, and a police misconduct panel found that he had “deliberately and repeatedly abused his position for a sexual purpose”.
His conduct “amounted to gross misconduct” and he was given a final written warning. Mr Mason resigned from the Met late in 2022.
Lawyers representing Ms O’Connor said the force “failed to properly investigate” the complaint. They said a police misconduct panel failed to address “predatory and abusive” actions.
Lawyers representing the misconduct panel and the Met disputed claims about the way they handled the process.
Mr Justice Swift, who considered arguments at High Court hearings in London earlier this year, on Friday dismissed her application for a judicial review.
The judge said it was “sufficient” that the “steps that were taken” during the disciplinary investigation were “both reasonable and appropriate”.
He added in a written ruling: “While this was a case of sexual harassment, the panel was entitled to have in mind precisely what the harassment had comprised.”
The judge said the disciplinary panel was entitled to “attach weight” to the fact the complaint was made many years after “the misconduct had occurred” and to Mr Mason’s previous record of “good service”.
Lawyers representing Ms O’Connor said they are planning to appeal.
Ms O’Connor said after the ruling: “This has been a frustrating process, and it is not the outcome I was hoping for but I want to keep fighting for justice for women.”
Lawyer Nancy Collins, who represents her and is based at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, said: “It is very disappointing that the High Court has dismissed Kristina O’Connor’s challenge to the police disciplinary process.”
She said Ms O’Connor has been “courageous” and “brave”.
At a previous hearing, Ms O’Connor’s lawyers said that allegations about Mr Mason’s behaviour at work had been made by a senior female police officer and emerged since the trial.
The officer worked in a Metropolitan unit headed by Mr Mason over a decade ago – and said he “made inappropriate comments frequently”, lawyers told the judge.
Mr Mason was “overly interested in what he deemed to be attractive female Pcs” and had once been seen “scanning the office life a wolf”, the court heard.
Additional reporting by PA