Published Date: Nov 2015
An investigation by the Police Ombudsman’s Office has rejected claims that police attempted to fabricate evidence against a driver involved in a collision in County Tyrone in December 2014.
The driver, whose car had been involved in a collision with another vehicle, lodged a complaint alleging that police had taken a biased approach in favour of the other driver.
He claimed an officer had advised a brother of the other driver to get four or five people to the scene so that they could say they had witnessed the collision.
He said several people then arrived, one of whom pointed him out, claimed to have seen the collision and said he had been at fault.
Driver claimed officers advised other party to call witnesses to the scene.
The man also alleged that an officer had made a derogatory remark about him, and said it was unfair that he had been asked to do a field impairment test – as a breathalyser was not working – while no such demand was made of the other driver.
He also claimed that officers joined with some of the people who had arrived at the scene in laughing at him as he completed the impairment test.
During her investigation of the man’s complaint, a Police Ombudsman investigator obtained statements from the officers involved, the other driver, as well as from paramedics who had attended the collision.
Police documentation – including records produced by officers who were at the scene – were also examined.
These enquiries showed that police had made no note of any witnesses at the scene, nor of any witnesses who had seen the collision.
The recommendation made by police to the Public Prosecution Service was found to have been the same for both drivers.
It was also established that police had not conducted a field impairment test on the other driver at as it would not have been appropriate given that she had had sustained a head injury. However, she was breathalysed while in hospital. Neither driver was found to have been driving while under the influence.
Police dealt with the collision in an even-handed and fair way: Police Ombudsman.
The paramedics supported the police officers’ version of events, stating that they did not see any other witnesses, nor did they witness anything of concern in the officers’ behaviour.
Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire said that the evidence indicated that police had dealt with the collision in an even-handed and fair way, and had reacted properly to the fact their breath test equipment had not been working.