Policewoman who 'couldn’t be bothered' to arrest burglary suspect is jailed for a yearBy Ashlie Mcanally
Last updated at 8:34 AM on 26th August 2011
Disgraced: WPC Michele Selby was convicted of attempting to defeat the ends of justice
A police officer who failed to arrest a convicted thief because she ‘could not be bothered’ was yesterday jailed for a year.
Constable Michele Selby confiscated tools from a man who claimed he was fixing a Chinese restaurant’s door in the early hours of the morning.
She told the man, who had six previous convictions, she knew he was trying to break in and if she did not have another call to go to he would have gone to jail.
However, the job she was rushing to was not a 999 call but delivering letters to another police station.
At a hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court last month, Selby was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.
Selby, 38, of Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, had told the court she believed the man was fixing the door and that no crime had been committed.
Passing sentence yesterday, Sheriff Richard Clark told Selby: ‘I recognise that the effect of this conviction is catastrophic for you. I also recognise that prior to the commission you were held in high regard in society.
‘Nevertheless, having regard to the factors, I am satisfied that a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal in this case.’
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PC Maley said she brought her colleague’s attention to the man who was outside the Moon River Chinese restaurant and they went to speak to him.
She spotted a red-handled screwdriver, crowbar and wrench and thought the man looked as though he was trying to break in. The court heard Selby took the man’s details and did a background check.
PC Maley said: ‘She told him, we know you are trying to break in and if we didn’t have another call to go to you would be getting the jail.’
'Couldn't be bothered': Selby said she had another job to do so the burglar was let offProsecutor Andrew Beadsworth asked the witness: ‘What, if anything, was said after that?’
She answered: ‘She said we would be taking the tools from him.’
The officer added that they then returned to their police car and the man walked away. Asked if she had spoken to Selby about the incident, she replied: ‘When we got in the car, she said if she could be bothered he would have got the jail, or words to that effect.’
The court heard she then asked Selby what job they had been given and was told that it was delivering post.
Selby then dumped the tools in a bin at Kirkintilloch Police Station before clocking off duty at 7am.
PC Maley told the court she did not feel confident enough to challenge Selby’s decision to let the man go or to throw away the tools but later reported it to her superiors.
In her evidence, Selby claimed she did not see a crowbar or wrench at the door of the restaurant, only screwdrivers, a hammer and a box of nails.
She told the court: ‘I didn’t believe a crime had been committed.’
Asked by defence lawyer Callum Anderson why she took the tools, the defendant replied: ‘To see what his answer would be – but he was freely saying I could take the tools.’
She added: ‘I made a mistake, it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t wilful, it wasn’t evil. I didn’t start my shift and say I’m going to defeat the ends of justice today.’
Mr Anderson told the court his client’s actions were not for financial or personal gain and that it was an ‘isolated incident’.
He added: ‘If the accused had acted differently and detained the man, then she probably would have received financial benefit for that in the form of overtime.’
Selby was found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by failing to detain the man and disposing of his tools and failing to investigate the incident on July 26 last year.
She has since resigned from Strathclyde Police.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2030326/Policewoman-sent-jail-failing-arrest-burglar.html#ixzz1W7gwjiFU
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