Ex-police chief David Crompton in resignation legal bid
There was "no fair basis" for the "draconian step" of forcing a South Yorkshire Police chief constable out of office, the High Court has heard.
David Crompton was suspended in April after he appeared to justify police questioning of fans' behaviour in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.
His comments came after an inquest jury concluded force conduct contributed to or caused the deaths of 96 fans.
It later led to a resignation call by Dr Alan Billings.
The court heard the police and crime commissioner (PCC) felt Mr Crompton's statement had "damaged trust" in the force.
But Hugh Bailey QC said the decision requiring his client to leave the force should be quashed, describing it as "fundamentally wrong".
He added: "The claimant submits that the defendant had no fair or reasonable basis for taking the draconian step of forcing him out of office, and that the decision was unlawful."
Mr Davies said Mr Crompton was not involved in the force's underlying failures at Hillsborough or its response to the disaster, nor was he implicated in any of the jury's findings.
He told Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham the PCC called for his resignation not because of any alleged wrongdoing associated with underlying events, but because of the press release he had issued.
Jonathan Swift QC, for the PCC, argued the claim should be dismissed.
He said although the decision was controversial, Dr Billings was entitled to conclude that public trust and confidence in the force had been damaged by the chief constable's actions.
The hearing continues.
- Jan 2012: David Crompton appointed chief constable of South Yorkshire Police following retirement of Med Hughes (October 2011)
- Sept 2012: Apologises on behalf of South Yorkshire Police after Hillsborough Independent Panel finds the force "sought to deflect responsibility" to Liverpool fans
- Feb 2013: Apologises after an email emerges in which he accuses Hillsborough campaigners of lying
- Mar 2016: Announces plans to retire in November
- Apr 2016: Suspended following Hillsborough inquest
- May 2016: Dismissal proceedings begin
- Sept 2016 :Made to resign by PCC