Policeman told me to stay quiet about cash, says News International driver
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Wednesday 01 February 2012
Three packages containing money from News
International were handed to a Metropolitan Police sergeant between 2006
and 2007 by a former chauffeur who worked at Wapping, a court heard
yesterday. The Met officer is alleged to have threatened the driver
saying "If you ever fucking mention this, I'll get you."
The alleged payments were made to Sergeant Sanjit Rai when he was based in Southwark. The packages were handed over by Paul Maley, a former NI driver.
Mr Maley, from Haslemere in Surrey, is facing charges of fraud and falsely claiming to be a senior police officer involved in “close protection” work with links to the Home Office.
Mr Maley is claiming the case against him involves a co-ordinated conspiracy to discredit him as a witness.
On day two of the trial at Guildford Crown Court, Sergeant Rai, now based in Lewisham, told Mr Maley’s counsel, Roger Offenbach, that he was “way off line” in accusing him of taking any cash packages.
He denied he had received money from News International in October 2006, February 2007 and November 2007 when he is alleged to have been with another police officer.
On three occasions, as the court heard the payment dates being outlined, Sergeant Rai said “Your client is lying.”
Prosecuting counsel, Ruby Selva, asked the Met Sergeant if any cases he had been involved in during 2006 and 2007, when his duties were mainly low-level disorder, had featured in News International titles? Sergeant Rai said they had not.
The police officer said he had been wrong in entering into a business relationship with an IT consultant, Simon Heavens, who claims he was swindled him out of £30,000 by the former chauffeur during a failed security business venture.
Mr Heavens has told the court that Mr Maley claimed to have provided security and protection services for Rupert and James Murdoch.
Sergeant Rai started the formal investigation into Mr Maley started after Mr Heavens had made a complaint through a friend, Ken Massey, who worked at Lewisham police station.
Sergeant Rai denied that he had been involved in a “clandestine” meeting with Mr Heavens and a South African adviser to their security business, that took place in a pub near Lewisham police. The police officer said the meeting happened “purely by accident”.
In the early part of his investigation into Mr Maley, Sergeant Rai is alleged to have been told that Mr Maley had a gun.
The Met officer accepted the description that guns were “very dangerous “ and could be used to shoot and frightened people.
When Sergeant Rai handed over his investigation of Mr Maley to Surrey Police in mid-2010 the crime’s focus was on allegations of fraud and not the gun.
As part of the fraud and police impersonation case against Mr Maley, Sergeant Rai told the court about a photograph he had been sent of the former chauffeur wearing a black T-shirt with a police logo.
Mr Offenbach said the T-shirt picture was part of the story being “cooked up” against Mr Maley. The T-shirt had “Highway Patrol” written across the back.
The Lewisham police sergeant eventually agreed that the Met had no “standard issue” T-shirts.
Mr Maley denies all charges.
The trail continues with the defence case expected to begin today.
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