Sex case twin wins sacking appeal

Image caption, Martin Cusick was arrested in Canada more than two years after disappearing

A police worker who was sacked after withholding information over the disappearance of his sex offender brother has won his job back.

Andrew Cusick was dismissed for gross misconduct and breach of trust for contacting his twin, Martin.

An employment tribunal has now found this was unfair as his unblemished work record had not been taken into account.

It ruled Strathclyde Joint Police Board should reinstate Mr Cusick, 54, and pay him £24,649 in compensation.

Mr Cusick worked as a civilian training officer after retiring from the force after 30 years service.

In 2005 his twin Martin Cusick, also a former police officer, and a convicted sex offender, who was legally required to tell police of any change of address, left his Clarkston home and disappeared.

An investigation was launched to find out the whereabouts of Cusick, who was jailed for five years in 1996 for sexually abusing three children aged between six and 12.

The father-of-two was eventually caught in Ontario, Canada, in April 2008 and deported a month later to Heathrow Airport where he was arrested on his arrival.

The industrial tribunal in Glasgow heard how Andrew Cusick was questioned by phone several times about his brother between October 2006 and March 2008 when he said he had "no direct or indirect contact with him" and believed him to be at an "unknown location".

The tribunal heard that between December 2007 and February 2008 Mr Cusick had contact with his brother via email and had his home phone number.

In February 2008, Mr Cusick opposed the release of a photograph of his brother because they were identical twins

He still did not volunteer any information about his brother or tell police of emails he had received from his nephews with his brother's contact information.

In March 2008, Mr Cusick was questioned again by phone and refused to give a statement, but told police, "I know he's safe, he emailed me" and added he believed his brother "to be in Spain".

On the basis of this information, a warrant was obtained to seize computer equipment in Mr Cusick's home.

When quizzed again Mr Cusick told police he was aware of his brother's intention to travel across Europe in a camper van and knew that he had been in Italy, France and Spain.

Email address

In April, 2008 Mr Cusick was again interviewed and told police he believed Martin Cusick was in Canada following an email from his nephew in December 2007.

Mr Cusick was then arrested and suspended. In October he attended an investigatory interview where he explained that he had not provided the email address and home number for his brother sooner as he considered it to be a family matter.

He said he had loyalty to his brother and also the police service.

An investigation report was compiled which concluded that "evidence exists to prove that member of police staff Andrew Cusick withheld information from the police, which could have led to the earlier arrest of his brother Martin Cusick".

After a disciplinary hearing which was adjourned in February 2009, Mr Cusick was dismissed and his subsequent appeal in August 2009 was rejected.

In his appeal tribunal, Mr Cusick successfully argued that his dismissal was excessive because Strathclyde Joint Police Board had failed to consider or attach sufficient weight to his 34 years of service and his unblemished record both as a police officer and training officer.

Employment judge Alan Strain, who found in his favour, said in a written judgement: "Mr Cusick accepted that he could have provided the information to the police sooner.

"The fact that Mr Cusick was not legally obliged to provide the information and the fact that Strathclyde Joint Police Board did not take into account his exemplary record whilst a serving police officer and unblemished record as a civilian member of staff at Strathclyde Joint Police Board cast serious doubt on their decision to dismiss."

Mr Strain said the tribunal believed Strathclyde Joint Police Board did not have reasonable grounds to believe the actions were misconduct and considered the fact that the alleged misconduct took place outside the workplace and out of working hours.

He added: "There was no suggestion Mr Cusick had acted in the course of his employment in anything other than a trustworthy, diligent way."

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