Surrey police officers cleared over misconduct charge

Two senior police officers from Surrey Police have been cleared of attempting to evade speeding convictions.

Ch Supt Adrian Harper and Supt Jonathan Johncox stood trial separately at Winchester Crown Court charged with misconduct in public office.

They were accused of concocting fake excuses to qualify for an exemption from a speeding fine and points.

Mr Johncox was cleared by a jury and the trial judge ordered a jury to find Mr Harper not guilty.

Judge Keith Cutler made the ruling on Friday after hearing the prosecution evidence, saying Mr Harper had no case to answer.

Surrey Police said both officers would remain suspended from duty while the force consulted with the Independent Police Complaints Commission regarding internal disciplinary proceedings.

'Doctored work diary'

A police spokesman said the case had come to court after the force began an internal review in March 2009 into historic exemptions from prosecution for speeding offences committed by officers on duty.

The trial heard that Mr Harper, 45, of Downs Road, Epsom, was caught by a speed camera travelling at 53mph in a 40mph on the A217 at Lower Kingswood, between Reigate and Epsom in Surrey, on 15 September 2008.

The prosecution claimed he had "doctored" his computerised work diary after the notice of prosecution arrived in order to persuade his line manager, Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dyson, to sign off the exemption form.

The trial of Mr Johncox, 47, of Thorncroft Drive, Leatherhead, heard he was caught by a speed camera travelling at 66mph in a 50mph zone on the A246 Epsom Road, West Clandon, on 9 June 2008.

The jury was told by the prosecution that he was driving to his girlfriend's house when he was caught by the camera but the reason given on the speeding exemption form was: "Officer delayed due to partnership meeting, time imperative to return to Surrey HQ for obtaining further police information."

The court heard that Mr Harper signed off this exemption for Mr Johncox.

The jury was told that Mr Johncox had told police that he had simply made an application in order to find out whether he was eligible for an exemption.

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