Wales

South Wales Police officer linked to juror 'suffered PTSD'

Det Con Rebecca Bryant Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Det Con Rebecca Bryant kept secret about her link to a juror

A police officer who did not reveal she knew a murder trial juror, leading to three convictions being quashed, was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a misconduct case has heard.

Det Con Rebecca Bryant was a liaison officer to the family of Lynford Brewster, who was murdered in Cardiff in 2016.

Her son's girlfriend was a juror in the original trial that year.

Three men have since been found guilty of killing him at a re-trial in March.

Ms Bryant is accused of gross misconduct by failing to notify Cardiff Crown Court of her link to Lauren Jones, and of lying to police when later questioned about it.

She has admitted an allegation of dishonesty in relation to having told Ms Jones to inform the court that she could not attend a day of the trial because of a hair appointment, advising her not to admit the precise reason.

She has also admitted misconduct on all three allegations, but denies gross misconduct.

Evidence submitted to the hearing by a clinical psychologist said there was a "90%" chance Ms Bryant had been suffering with post traumatic symptoms at the time, and there was a "99%" likelihood this would have influenced her judgement.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Lynford Brewster was stabbed to death after a "violent disagreement" over drugs

Acting on behalf of Ms Bryant, Jonathan Rees QC said that she had been working on another high profile murder case at that time, and had spent considerable time reviewing graphic footage of the killing.

This, he said, had triggered Ms Bryant's mental health difficulties and had impaired her ability to make rational decisions.

The court heard extracts from an interview with Ms Bryant after admitting her dishonesty, where she said she was "embarrassed" and felt she had "let everyone down".

"I've never tried to appropriate blame to anyone other than myself," she had said.

"I am acutely aware of the gravity of my mistake. I can promise it will never happen again. I fully understand the impact on South Wales Police and the family of Lynford Brewster."

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption (Left to right) Robert Lainsbury, Jake Whelan, Dwayne Edgar, who were jailed after a re-trial

But presenting officer Jeremy Jones said that did not begin to explain her actions in the case.

He argued that because Ms Bryant had specifically told Ms Jones not to tell the court about their relationship, that showed she recognised there could be consequences from her actions.

Ms Bryant, giving evidence through a statement, said she was sorry to Mr Brewster's family and friends for what she had put them through.

She also said she was thankful her actions had not resulted in his killers evading justice.

If the allegations against her are proven, she faces being dismissed from the force.

The hearing continues.

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