Counsel from No5 Barristers’ Chambers has successfully represented an officer who was alleged to have conducted an unauthorised pursuit before lying about his actions.

Colin Banham represented an officer who was accused of conducting an unauthorised pursuit of mopeds which he was neither permitted nor trained to undertake, failing to report a collision that arose during the pursuit, omitting information from the report submitted to his superiors, providing misleading information to the rider of one of the mopeds via a number of notes in an attempt to persuade his family not to make a complaint against him, and misleading his superiors in an email when he was asked to give his account.

The officer denied pursuing the mopeds, denied witnessing any collision and did not appreciate that it could have had any connection to his presence. As a result, he did not report the incident to a supervisor as a potential police collision and therefore denied being in breach of MPS policy. He denied deliberately omitting information from the collision report.

The officer further denied providing intentionally misleading handwritten notes to the rider of one of the mopeds and his family and denied omitting information from an email to senior officers.

After cross-examination of the witnesses by Counsel, the evidence from the rider of the moped was not found to be credible due to a number of material inconsistencies and his recollection being affected by the incident. The panel found that they could not rely upon his evidence. The evidence from another officer within the police vehicle was credible and truthful but came from an entirely different perspective. On a number of key issues, having been subjected to questioning, his account was thought to be confused.

The officer concerned was thought to be a credible and truthful witness, who was calm, measured and temperate when giving evidence.

Despite the submission of the Appropriate Authority that it was not credible that the officer did not see the mopeds, the submissions from the defence were accepted. The account of the moped rider was found to be wrong in many aspects and the circumstantial evidence supported the officer’s account. It was not proved that the officer witnessed the collision or believed that his presence contributed to it and therefore there was no duty to report it or refer to those matters alleged to have been omitted from the collision report.

The notes sent to the moped rider and his family were admittedly ‘ambiguous’. However, the panel found that they were probably worded in that way because he was trying, in the face of some difficulty, to get an account from the rider.

Finally, the panel could not assess whether or not PC Carragher had provided misleading information to his seniors because there was no evidence of precisely what he had been asked to provide to them.

The case lasted for three days, after which all breaches were found not proven. The officer was cleared of all allegations said to be breaches of the Standards of Professional Behaviour in respect of Orders &Instructions, Duties & Responsibilities and Honesty & Integrity.

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Counsel was instructed by John Dance at DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd.