3:40pm Friday 29th March 2013
By John Phillips
A GWENT police officer humiliated by colleagues after being caught on camera smashing a pensioner’s car was hounded out of his job, a tribunal ruled.
PC Mike Baillon, 42, became the butt of daily jokes after 74-year-old Robert Whatley won a £20,000 police payout following an incident in which he hit his car window 15 times with a police baton in Usk.
Footage of the 2009 incident involving another officer made national headlines and was viewed more than 30 million times on YouTube.
Mr Baillon could be in line for a major compensation package after winning his constructive dismissal claim at Cardiff Employment Tribunal.
The tribunal heard last month how Mr Watley, of Usk, was sentenced for motoring offences including failing to stop after a 17-minute police chase between Cwmbran and Usk in 2009.
Mr Baillon, who drove the Prince of Wales and Princess Ann as part of his duties, was exonerated following an internal police investigation.
But the father-of-two complained he had not been "given closure" after being removed from frontline duties, the tribunal heard.
The former traffic cop told the tribunal his complaints led to daily harassment and bullying from colleagues and he was forced to resign last August.
His locker was defaced and in another incident police forced entry into a property and a colleague allegedly told him it wasn't a window in a reference to the Usk arrest.
His barrister Nick Smith said he became a "pariah". Mr Baillon told the hearing last month: "The ridicule from colleagues was getting to me. It was every single day."
Gwent Police chiefs claimed he had become mentally unstable and "obsessed" with the "Whatley incident", adding his inability to move on could affect his ability to drive high-speed police cars.
He was moved from Gwent Police traffic unit to the Local Policing Unit in Newport and was off sick for stress from February 2012.
Tribunal Judge Roger Harper ruled on February 27 that Mr Baillon had suffered a detriment and been unfairly dismissed.
Judge Harper said: "The tribunal therefore is satisfied that there was a fundamental breach of contract arising out of the decision to transfer him to the Newport LPU, which was a decision taken as a direct result of the claiming having raised protected disclosures."
Mr Baillon and his solicitors Ashfords were unavailable for comment yesterday.
A Gwent Police spokesman said: "Gwent Police notes the decision of the tribunal and is considering options in respect of a possible appeal. As such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
A forthcoming remedy hearing will set the compensation to be given to Mr Baillon.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group