Des O’Connor’s daughter takes legal action against the Met Police as she accuses force of ‘enabling misogyny’ by letting officer who ‘made sexual advances towards her after attempted mugging’ keep his job
- The 33-year-old brought legal action after officer sexually harassed her in 2011
- The detective told her she was ‘amazingly hot’ while investigating her mugging
The daughter of Des O’Connor is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after an officer who made ‘made sexual advances’ towards her following an attempted mugging kept his job.
DCI James Mason, 34, allegedly made inappropriate advances to Kristina O’Connor after the incident in 2011.
Ms O’Connor said the officer asked her ‘invasive’ questions with ‘sexual overtones’ and later followed these up with inappropriate messages, calling her ‘amazingly hot’ and asking her out for a drink.
A misconduct hearing in October 2021 found he had breached professional standards but he kept his job as an aide to former commissioner Dame Cressida Dick and was only given a written warning.
He remains a serving officer.
Kristina O’Connor, 33, is taking legal action against the Met Police over its handling of DCI James Mason’s misconduct investigation after the officer kept his job
Miss O’Connor is the daughter of late entertainer Des O’Connor (pictured together), who died in 2020; and she is a musician in her own right
Ms O’Connor has brought a judicial review against the Met’s Police Misconduct Panel for ‘enabling misogyny’.
Emails between DCI Mason and Kristina O’Connor
The day after she reported her attack, Miss O’Connor got back in touch with DCI Mason to check on the progress of the investigation.
Below are some of the messages they exchanged between them.
MASON: ‘Please look after yourself while you’re out in Camden.
‘Hopefully you will not be a victim of crime again but if you ever fancy having a drink with a very discreet police officer just let me know, it would be my pleasure.
‘If you have any visible injuries that you would like me to record then I am happy to take a picture for you and save it in case we manage to get any further in the investigation. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much and I am sure you still look amazingly hot.”
O’CONNOR: ‘You’re presuming that I’m unaffected enough by the crime to come on to me? Isn’t there some kind of code of practice that you are breaking right now?’
MASON: ‘Kristina, have faith in my detective ability and experience. Actually, coming on to victims is positively encouraged, it’s all part of the friendly and accessible face of the Met Police. It’s the rejection that’s frowned upon.’
O’CONNOR: ‘You have no shame! You could get fired for this!’
MASON: ‘You are probably right on both counts. I can assure that I am as determined in my pursuit of criminals as I am of beautiful women if that helps. You know where I am if you ever change your mind or need a friendly police officer.’
She says the investigation was flawed and her complaint was not dealt with adequately.
She claims that DCI Mason asked her whether she had a boyfriend, what she wore to work and whether he could take her out for dinner after she was attacked while buying groceries on her way home.
Ms O’Connor’s barrister Fiona Murphy, KC, told the High Court the matter was not treated as a complaint of harassment under the Equality Act as it should have been.
‘When impropriety involves the potential compromise of an investigation that equates to operational dishonesty.
‘That has special significance which should have had consequences.’
She said the investigation failed to look into DCI Mason’s previous behaviour adequately.
‘You cannot have a lawful investigation into predatory sexual misconduct without looking into any previous patterns of that behaviour- any complaints about similar matters.
‘It was not enough for the commissioner to dust down the complaint file and look at that.
‘They should have been looking at conduct matters and matters from civil litigation.’
She said DCI Mason had not been interviewed but had been allowed to submit his account via email.
‘There is a requirement to probe an officer’s account where there is a discrimination matter.
‘The failure to unpick the officer’s account and ask him why he behaved as did ended up with a situation where an email from him became the accepted version of events- with no questioning.
‘This all led from deciding not to interview him. He wasn’t asked questions…’
Caoilfhionn Gallagher, KC, a second barrister representing Ms O’Connor
said that the overall focus of the misconduct proceedings should have been to protect the integrity of the police force.
She said that the impact on DCI Mason and references written in his support by his colleagues were given an undue weight.
‘The central purpose of the misconduct process is not punishment, but protecting the integrity of the police force.
‘The importance of making the sanction to protect the public interest and faith in the police must take precedence over any impact on an individual officer.’
DCI James Mason was an aide to former Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick
She said that DCI Mason had misused his police email address for a sexual purpose.
‘This was an abuse of authority for sexual gain – many people come into contact with the police when they are in a vulnerable situation, as was the case for Ms O’Connor.
‘They have a right to be treated professionally.
‘This was sexual harassment of a woman ten years his junior, who was junior to him in the situation as he was an officer, who was vulnerable as a victim of crime.
‘This is a form of discrimination against younger women.’
The hearing will continue tomorrow. Mr Justice Swift is expected to reserve judgement.
Des O’Connor, who was the legendary butt of the jokes of Morcambe and Wise, died in 2020 aged 88.
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