The Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland has awarded a claimant substantial compensation of £20,000 for negligence and breach of the seventh data protection principle by his employer. Expert medical evidence confirmed that the claimant, a former anti-terrorist police officer, had suffered a worsening of his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and developed problems with alcohol following the theft of documents containing the claimant’s personal data from the premises of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). The court said that the £20,000 award was in respect of the RUC’s negligence but that damages for distress caused by Data Protection Act breaches was ‘subsumed into the £20,000’. It also awarded an additional nominal sum of £1 in respect of the claimant’s distress.

CP19 v Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland