Police officer jailed for 'cavalier' attitude to law

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The Independent Online

A police officer who showed a "cavalier disregard for the law" when he repeatedly lied about a motoring offence was jailed today.







Dean Hardy, of North Wales Police, claimed he had a valid MOT certificate when stopped by officers.



He also claimed he was taking the car for an MOT when he was pulled over and later asked a more junior police officer to sign a form on which he had lied.



Jailing Hardy, 35, for four months, Judge Paul Thomas QC said he was making an example of him: "Attempting to pervert the course of justice is an offence where an immediate custodial sentence is inevitable.



"That is particularly so when a police officer commits such an offence.



"People like you, police officers, committing this have to be made an example of.



"If police officers do not respect the law how can the general public respect the law?"



He said Hardy's crime was made worse because he pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice and was convicted by a jury.



Hardy, of Cambrian Road, Moreton, The Wirral, was suspended from the force last November.



Roderick Priestley, mitigating, told the court Hardy had brought shame on himself and his family and had now lost his career.



He added there had been "a significant degree of stupidity" on Mr Hardy's part.



Newport Crown Court heard Mr Hardy lied because he did not want to be a laughing stock at Deeside police station where he worked.



The barrister added: "I am sure no-one at Deeside is laughing now but saddened at his foolish recklessness for throwing away all he had."



Judge Thomas told Hardy: "In order to get out of a minor motoring matter you set out on a deliberate course of conduct to mislead those responsible for the prosecution of such matters.



"You told lies about having an MOT certificate for your car, lies about how it was on its way for an MOT and when filling out a relevant form you got an inexperienced officer to sign it for you.



"It was a calculated course of action arising out of your cavalier disregard for motoring law.



"It was incredibly stupid and the fine you would have received is minor in comparison to this case."



He added: "The worst aspect of this is that you involved an inexperienced colleague by asking him to sign the form.



"You put his career in jeopardy and rather than come clean about the whole matter you tried to brazen it out by pleading not guilty."



Michael Hammett, prosecuting, told the court Hardy had been the subject of two other police disciplinary matters.



He told the judge Hardy was caught having sex with a member of the public while on duty in September 2007, and in March 2008 he was caught sending explicit text messages to other members of the force.



Judge Thomas told Hardy he would spend two months behind bars.