Case against three officers of perverting justice ditched
Charges of perverting the course of justice against three police officers have been thrown out of court. Thomas Geoffrey Ellis (50), whose address was given as PSNI Cookstown, faced two counts of perverting the course of justice, whilst co-accused Harry McMahon (46), of PSNI Dungannon, and David Power (46), of PSNI Sprucefield, each faced one count.
The charges were alleged to have occurred between July 22 and 25, 2012 at Cookstown PSNI station and centred on Mr McMahon allegedly removing the contents of a locker belonging to Mr Ellis who, in turn, was accused of procuring Mr McMahon to commit the offence.
Mr Power was accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in relation to the alleged removal of the locker contents.
In July 2014, during a review hearing at Dungannon Magistrates Court, a prosecution lawyer confirmed an internal PSNI investigation had been carried out by the professional standards department (PSD) in relation to drugs possession and perverting the course of justice.
A criminal investigation then commenced.
From the outset the defence for all three accused maintained their clients were not aware of an investigation, thereby arguing they could not have known of any issue of allegedly perverting the course of justice.
Well over a year after the case was committed for trial, a judge ruled the court was "completely in the dark" about the nature of the underlying investigation that was apparently being conducted at the relevant time by the PSD and which formed the grounds for the prosecution action.
Sitting in Belfast Crown Court, His Honour Judge Kerr QC found there was a lack of evidence.
A final chance was afforded to locate critical evidence but none was forthcoming, leading Judge Kerr to dismiss the charges against all three men.
Following Judge Kerr's ruling, a statement issued by the legal firm Madden & Finucane, which acted for Mr McMahon, confirmed the charges against all three men had been thrown out.