Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Distinguished" British police officer jailed after lying under oath to escape DUI driving ban

A 'distinguished' police officer was jailed for 12 months today after he lied under oath to escape a driving ban. Greater Manchester Pc Myles Hughes, 35, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, persuaded his childhood friend and barman at his local pub to lie for him after he was caught driving over the limit.

Hughes was spared a disqualification in November last year when he told magistrates that he did not know he was over the drink drive limit because Paul Doyle, also 35, from Macclesfield, had given him the wrong drinks. Doyle backed up the story claiming he gave Hughes four pints of 'lager top' instead of lager shandy in a bid to 'cheer his friend up'.

Today Judge Elgan Edwards, sitting at Liverpool Crown Court, jailed Hughes and Doyle for 12 months and four months respectively. Both men pleaded guilty to perjury at an earlier hearing.

Judge Edwards said: 'Perjury strikes at the very heart of the criminal justice system. 'Both of you deliberately lied to magistrates and the magistrates accepted your word. And indeed, why shouldn't they? 'They were faced with a police officer with a distinguished record. 'You, Mr Doyle, had no previous convictions. So they accepted your evidence. 'But that was a lie, put forward quite deliberately in order to deceive.'

Duncan Bold, prosecuting, told the court that Hughes, who was a Pc for the Hazel Grove Neighbourhood Policing Team in Manchester, was stopped in his Vauxhall Astra on April 28 last year after he was seen by a police officer leaving The Flower Pot pub in Macclesfield.

He was pulled over for speeding, but then breath-tested after the officer could smell alcohol inside the car. A roadside breath test showed Hughes had 47 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath - the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Hughes admitted drink driving at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court last November but escaped a driving ban and was given a £475 fine and six points on his licence after he and Doyle presented their fake story to the court.

The court also heard that Hughes, who has since resigned from the police, even confided in two police colleagues about his plan to lie under oath. Both officers urged him not to do it and then subsequently reported the matter to the force's Professional Standards Department, which launched an investigation against Hughes shortly after his case was concluded by magistrates.

Patrick Thompson, defending Hughes, said the defendant had been a police officer for 10 years and was 'extremely proud' of his career. He said the episode had brought 'great shame on him and his very respectable family.' Mr Thompson added: 'He dug himself deeper and deeper in. He was absolutely desperate to keep his job and keep his career.'

Simon Parry, defending Doyle, said his client's loyalty to his friend had been 'wholly misplaced' and that he was 'ashamed and embarrassed' by what he had done.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Keller said: 'Rather than just admit what he had done, this officer concocted a story to excuse the fact he had been caught driving while under the influence of alcohol. 'In doing so, he went to great lengths to lie to the court, his employers and the people in the communities he served.

'The public have a right to expect both the very highest standards from its officers and be able put their trust in them. Sadly this officer let his community down.'

He added: 'We have worked very closely with our colleagues in Cheshire Police to resolve this case and the message needs to be sent out that no one is above the law, and officers who commit crimes will, quite rightly, be treated exactly the same way as everyone else.

'Greater Manchester Police expects high standards from its police officers, whether on or off-duty, and any evidence of criminality or misconduct will be dealt with.'

Original report here

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