Wales

South Wales Police officer's juror lie was gross misconduct

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 lied about knowing a juror in a murder trial, leading to three convictions being quashed and a retrial, has had two counts of gross misconduct against her proved.

South Wales Police 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 but three men have since been found guilty after a retrial.

She could be now sacked from the force.

A disciplinary panel found her failure to tell Cardiff Crown Court of the link with Lauren Jones during the original trial in 2016 was a "continuing breach" of professional behaviour.

Panel chairman, Peter Griffiths QC said: "It did not comprise of a one-off error of judgement. It was a continuing breach spanning from the end of November to around the 20 December 2016."

The hearing was told Det Con Bryant, who has served with the South Wales force since 1998, initially lied to a senior officer when confronted with the truth.

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

The panel found that amounted to gross misconduct and Mr Griffiths said "it was a deliberate lie on her part to a senior officer who was investigating a matter of the utmost importance".

She admitted knowing Miss Jones the next day.

On a third allegation, that Ms Bryant had advised the juror to withhold information from the court in order to attend a hair appointment, she admitted an allegation of dishonesty.

But the panel did not find those actions amounted to gross misconduct.

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

"It was something a police officer should never have suggested... but in the panel's view it fell short of amounting to outright dishonesty," Mr Griffiths added.

The misconduct hearing heard evidence from a clinical psychologist who 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.

She admitted misconduct on all three allegations, but denied gross misconduct.

After finding two of the allegations proven, the panel must now decide what sanctions Ms Bryant will face, which could include dismissal from the force.

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