Officer seeks review on sex assault claims
A police officer who accused two colleagues of a serious sexual assault is to ask for a judicial review of a decision not to prosecute them, it was revealed yesterday.
Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said Larry Mussenden, the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, had “decided that there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that a reasonable jury, properly directed, would more likely than not convict the accused of the charges alleged.”
Mr Corbishley confirmed that the officer who made the complaint would seek a judicial review of the DPP’s decision.
He said that the two officers alleged to have been involved were still suspended.
Mr Corbishley added: “The officers subject to the criminal allegation have subsequently been informed — however, they remain suspended and the BPS disciplinary process will make assessment of their behaviour, a process that, unlike the criminal threshold, is based on the balance of probability.
“As Commissioner of Police, I support all who make complaints of sexual assault, whether they be a police officer or member of the public of any ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”
Mr Corbishley added that the service “continued to look after the officer” who made the complaint “with the provision of counselling and welfare support”.
He said the accused officers were suspended on suspicion of gross misconduct as the criminal investigation was launched.
Mr Corbishley added that, because of the legal action by the officer, “it would be inappropriate for the BPS to make any further comment until this process is completed”.
He said later at the regular Covid-19 briefing that he also understood the sentiments of an officer who raised concerns “about the behaviour of other BPS officers” on social media.
The commissioner said: “That matter is being looked at. I actually support what the officer said, I think they were honest and open and I’m consistent, and have been, around issues around discrimination whether it be sexual orientation, race or otherwise and that’s part of our code of ethics and our standards of professional behaviour.
“Yes, it is being addressed and the expression made in the social media, I fully understand where that person was coming from.”
Mr Mussenden declined to comment on the case yesterday.
But Ben Smith, the shadow national security minister, said he was concerned by the decision given the heightened level of public scrutiny on police services around the world.
Mr Smith said: “We must not rush to judgment, but if the suggestions are true, this must be fully explained, publicly. If the DPP’s explanation is unsatisfactory, I would urge that there is an independent investigation into why this apparently took place.
He added that “the public must be confident that officers are never placed above the law”.
Mr Smith said: “That would be contrary to justice and would serve to undermine confidence in the DPP, as well as the police service.”
• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.
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