A former police officer who claimed to have interviewed two men about an alleged assault but in fact falsified the records has walked free from court after his two year jail term was suspended for three years.
Belfast Crown Court heard that 40-year-old former cop Gavin Dickson had been called to a late night city centre assault in 2008 and had bailed the two men he arrested to be interviewed at a later date.
Those interviews, the court heard, never took place but Dickson, whose address was given as c/o Castlereagh PSNI station, told his superiors he was recommending "no prosecution" against the two men.
Prosecuting lawyer Peter Magill said his senior officer, knowing there was CCTV footage of the incident at Bradbury Place, thought differently and ordered the men to be prosecuted.
In the meantime Dickson had produced a hand written document, countersigned by a colleague, of summaries he claimed he had with the suspects.
The two men did indeed appear before the Magistrates' Court charged with assault but were shocked to hear there was a statement relating to their police interviews because they had never been questioned about it.
Mr Magill said investigations into the matter ensued and it transpired that Dickson had falsified the interview summaries, the signature and custody records at Donegall Pass PSNI station.
Last Friday, after defence lawyer Kevin O'Hare asked for the charges to be put to the former cop again, Dickson pleaded guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice and two counts of misconduct in public office.
Mr Magill said it was more a case of "stupidity" and "essentially, a case of incompetency".
Suspending the jail term today Judge Corinne Philpott told Dickson, who had been an officer for seven years, it was clear he was not "up to the job".