A police constable and a community support officer who failed in their duty to protect a disabled refugee before he was murdered by a misguided vigilante have been sent to prison.
PC Kevin Duffy was sentenced to 10 months at Bristol crown court on Tuesday, while PCSO Andrew Passmore was jailed for four months.
The pair were convicted of misconduct in a public office after a jury decided they had made criminally serious errors over the case of Bijan Ebrahimi.The police Twitter accounts that I follow were curiously silent on this case. You’d think the removal of ‘a few bad apples’ would be met with rejoicing from those accounts that constantly bemoan the state of modern policing, wouldn’t you?
The judge was rather too sympathetic to the guilty parties for my liking:
The judge said: “I cannot go behind the jury’s verdicts and it is with a heavy heart that in each of your cases I take the view that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.
“It doesn’t seem to me a proper consequence of your wrongdoing that the sentences need be long. You have already suffered greatly. You have already lost your careers and in each of your cases there is genuine justification for mercy.
“You must not bear the responsibilities for the wider failings in the police which were beyond your control.”The loss of their careers are inevitable, so why this ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ attitude? And, nice as it would be to see Gargan in the dock for the force failings, it’s unlikely to happen.
So they are, quite rightly, only being asked to face the consequences of their own actions or in one case, lack of action (followed by lying about said actions).
Members of Duffy’s and Passmore’s families gasped and exclaimed “Jesus Christ” as the sentences were passed.Yes, I thought they were quite lenient too…
It’s with a certain amount of glee that I read the excuses proffered by the defence:
Ian Stern QC, representing Duffy, told the court his client’s action had “no consequences” in Ebrahimi’s death.
He said: “You are dealing with someone who has given dedicated public service over many years. He has lost his good character, his employment and a significant financial sum for him and his family.
“He is a broken man and he will not work obviously in the areas in which he has hitherto worked and the public will be all the more poorer for that.”No, I think the public will actually be much better served by a police force without him in it.
Michael Borrelli QC, for Passmore, said his client was the carer for his elderly mother and stepfather and suffered from low IQ and memory recall.I… what? How on earth did he ever become a PCSO, then?
He said: “Whatever he has done by writing that statement that he signed he didn’t act either in a deliberate or reckless disregard to a vulnerable member of the community that he served.
“He is someone who has demonstrated that at his core he is a good man who has spent time serving others.”Has he really just spent a few minutes, though, and he’s claiming a whole career …?