December 5 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 30, 2013
A former Kentish Town police officer who conspired to release a solicitor caught with cocaine has had his jail term halved – because his actions were “apparently selfless”.
Aaron Evans-Keady arrested the woman in Camden Town on January 28 last year when he caught her with three wraps of a suspicious substance that later tested positive for cocaine.
But the officer, who had qualified a year earlier, made a pact with detention officer Keiran Cross, 25, a civilian colleague, to falsify the drug test results so they appeared negative.
Evans-Keady, 27, of Sparrows Herne, Bushey, Hertfordshire, was jailed for two years at Southwark Crown Court in May after admitting conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Last week his sentence was cut to 12 months at London’s Criminal Appeal Court with judges ruling that the initial term was too long because he had nothing to gain from his actions.
The court heard Evans-Keady felt sorry for the woman, a solicitor from Australia who was fearful of the impact a drug possession charge could have on her career and immigration status.
Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Keith said: “It goes without saying that Evans-Keady’s sympathy for the plight of the woman was completely misplaced.
“It was a serious abuse of power on his part.
“However, the fact that this decision was made for apparently selfless reasons needed to be reflected in the length of the sentence.”
The deception came to light within hours after Cross confessed to a superior and both men were arrested.
The court was told Evans-Keady initially tried to put the blame on to Cross by claiming he did not know the test results were wrong, but he eventually admitted his guilt on the day he was due to stand trial.
The woman was asked to return to the station and was given a caution for possessing cocaine.
Lawyers for Evans-Keady argued his sentence was over the top, given the “unusual” circumstances in which he did not stand to gain anything and he was acting out of “misplaced feelings of sympathy” for the woman.
His barrister Jenni Dempster said: “He was willing to permit his whole career to be thrown into the dustbin for absolutely no gain to himself whatsoever.”
She highlighted the “substantial” personal mitigation of his difficult first year in the force.
He had sought counselling after several traumatic incidents, including waiting for several hours with the body of a suicide victim in order to preserve the scene and attending a serious road crash.