Northern Ireland

Ex-policeman loses appeal over car crash claim

Belfast Crown Court

An ex-police officer has lost an appeal against a conviction for intending to pervert the course of justice.

In April 2015, Alfred David Beattie crashed his car into a tree after drinking but attempted to make it look like it had been stolen.

He was subsequently given a six-month prison term.

Beattie claimed the judge should have not included evidence from a police interview, and should have been treated as "mentally vulnerable".

'Denied he owned the screwdriver'

The court heard that on 25 April 2015 Beattie, who was a serving police officer at the time, drank a half bottle of wine before getting in his car to drive to his girlfriend's house.

He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree.

As he was not injured he walked home, believing he did not need to report the accident to the police as no other people or vehicles had been involved.

He then consumed more alcohol "to calm himself" and decided to return to the car to damage it with a screwdriver to make it look like it had been stolen.

When police officers called at his home the following day he told them he parked the car at his house the previous evening and did not go out in it again. He also told them he did not own the screwdriver which was found in the foot well of the car.

After consulting with his brother-in-law, who was also a police officer, Beattie went to Lisburn Road Police Station on 27 April 2015 and he was subsequently arrested.

'Appeal dismissed'

Beattie was assessed by the custody sergeant and the forensic medical officer (FMO).

Custody records show Mr Beattie was "upset, shaking and making noises indicative of crying", however, the FMO directed that Beattie was fit for detention and interview.

In his appeal, Beattie claimed the interview carried out during this time should not have been included in evidence and that he should have been treated as a "mentally vulnerable" person under the code of practice for the Detention, Treatment and Questioning of Persons by police officers.

Beattie also claimed the custody sergeant should have been called as a witness to testify as to his condition and his fitness to be interviewed.

The Court of Appeal accepted the trial judge's conclusion that there was no breach of the code of practice that the trial judge's charge to the jury had been "scrupulously fair", and the appeal was dismissed.

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