Police officers are on trial over charges of throwing away confiscated drugs during an arrest
Two police officers have been put on trial for misconduct in public office after they allegedly discarded drugs seized during an arrest.
Onstables Neil Campbell and Michael Campfield are jointly charged with failing to preserve evidence and not record or provide relevant information, despite being required to do so between November 21 and 24, 2018 when they had reasonable suspicions of committing a criminal offence became.
The Newry Crown Court jury heard the couple confiscated a bag of about 50 blue tablets when they arrested an alleged burglary at a Salvation Army home, according to prosecutors.
However, they threw them in a rubbish bin in the detention suite at the Musgrave Street PSNI station without making a record of the seizure, the court heard.
QC James Johnston told the jury that because the bag of loose blue pills was never found, “we can’t prove they were illegal,” but that was not an issue for the jury.
“They intentionally, and I don’t use that word lightly, intentionally tossed them in the bin while they were waiting to bring the person before the constable,” the attorney said.
“They chose to do that earlier and made a conscious choice not to make a record.
“We say this amounts to material breaches of the duties to which the police are subject … and we say this is a willful dereliction of duty and a willful misconduct of public trust,” Mr Johnston said. He told jurors that when officers arrested the man at the Centenary House hostel in Belfast city centre, the bag of pills was confiscated along with some food, tin foil and a needle.
The couple showed the clear plastic bag to a staff member, who suggested they might be diazepam, and she recorded them on the hostel’s computer system.
He said while officers and the suspect were in the detention facility, there was CCTV footage showing “Constable Campbell moved away and although you won’t see it, it’s the prosecution’s case that he took the bag then.” just threw them in the bin just before the constable was ready to deal with them”.
Johnston explained to the sergeant that “they suspected the person was a drug user,” Mr Johnston said, apart from their duties as officers, it would have been important to record the seizure of the pills as it could have affected which steps were taken undertaken in the detention suite to keep the prisoner safe.
The alleged offenses were uncovered the following day when the hostel refused to take the suspect back, telling another officer they were doing so because of the drug seizure by Constables Campbell and Campfield, who were stationed at Grosvenor Road and Woodbourne PSNI respectively. refused.
Mr. Johnston stressed to the jury that they must “remain impartial throughout” in evaluating the evidence and must not let sympathy or prejudice enter their deliberations.
The process, which is expected to last until next week, continues.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/police-officers-go-on-trial-accused-of-dumping-drugs-seized-in-an-arrest-42334176.html Police officers are on trial over charges of throwing away confiscated drugs during an arrest