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Stuart v London City Airport - Failure to look into potentially exculpatory evidence [2012] EAT

In a case of dishonesty involving a breach of trust, potentially exculpatory evidence should be sought when raised by the employee, particularly in circumstances where crucial evidence was not heard at the disciplinary hearing, but nonetheless relied on by the dismissing manager.

Mr Stuart had worked for London City Airport (LCA) as a Ground Services Agent since October 2005. He was one of 430 employees working in the Ground Services Department at London City Airport. He had an unblemished record of service and the most recent staff appraisal graded him as ‘excellent’. On the evening of 21 December 2009 Mr Stuart entered Nuance, the duty free shop, to buy some Christmas presents. He chose some items which he stated that he held at all times in his hands; he accepted that he did not use a basket. He first went to pay for them at an un-manned till point, where he queued with another customer before a member of staff told him to go and pay at another till point because that one was closed. He moved over to a different till and began to queue again. During the whole of this period he stated that the items he had chosen were clearly visible in his hands.

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