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Lowestoft policeman David Phelps sacked after conviction for putting words in mouth of man in drugs case

PUBLISHED: 15:50 22 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 22 June 2017

Police officer David Phelps who appeared at Norwich Crown Court for charges of perverting the course of justice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police officer David Phelps who appeared at Norwich Crown Court for charges of perverting the course of justice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A Suffolk police officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after being convicted of intending to pervert the course of justice.

David Phelps, 42, a Suffolk Constabulary detective based in Lowestoft, was warned he could face jail after his conviction at Norwich Crown Court on June 2.

Phelps had denied intending to pervert the course of justice, specifically trying to coach or put words in the mouth of a man arrested in connection with a drugs matter.

Sentencing was adjourned until June 30 but Judge Anthony Bate warned him: “You know better than anybody what the consequences will be.”

Today, Phelps was dismissed without notice at a misconduct hearing at Suffolk Constabulary’s headquarters in Martlesham.

Phelps did not attend the hearing, chaired by Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, but was represented by Mark Emsden, general secretary of the Suffolk Police Federation.

Mr Emsden told the hearing that Phelps admitted gross misconduct and accepted both his conviction and that his position as a detective constable had become untenable.

He said Phelps did not attend the hearing because he is “working hard to get his affairs in order” ahead of his court sentence next week and is spending as much time as possible with his young son.

Mr Emsden said he also advised Phelps not to attend.

The Norwich Crown Court jury had taken less than two hours to find Phelps guilty.

During the case, Stephen Mather, prosecuting, said Phelps was caught suggesting to a man he arrested how he could explain the presence of another person’s DNA on controlled drugs and account for money seized by police.

Giving evidence, Phelps denied he coached the man in any way, but said in hindsight that he had not gone about it in the right way.

Quoting a statement from Phelps, Mr Emsden told the hearing that Phelps was “proud to have served” Suffolk. He “sincerely apologised” to Mr Wilson and the police force for bringing them into disrepute and for any embarrassment he may have caused Mr Wilson personally.

Mr Wilson told the hearing that the matter “goes to the core of values within policing” and said there was only one possible outcome.

Phelps has the right to appeal the decision.

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