Police officer jailed over drink-drive cover up

PC McKillion admitted he had been drinking, had been in the car before the officers arrived and was not breathalysed. Picture: TSPL

PC McKillion admitted he had been drinking, had been in the car before the officers arrived and was not breathalysed. Picture: TSPL

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A POLICE OFFICER, who deliberately lied to protect a fellow cop from being investigated for allegations of drink driving, has been jailed for seven months.

It comes on the same day when Scotland’s drink driving laws have been tightened with the police expected to enforce them.

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Disgraced P.C. David Carmichael was found guilty of wilful neglect of duty by a sheriff who described his actions as “a total cover-up.”

Shamed Carmichael, who has nine years police service, was found guilty last month of wilful neglect of duty and violating the trust of the office of Constable.

Sheriff Robert H. Dickson told Carmichael: “I come to opinion this was a total cover-up to protect a fellow police officer.It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to find a serving police officer guilty of wilful neglect of duty. You told your less experienced colleague that you didn’t want to grass up a fellow cop. This was an attempt to prevent action against an officer suspected of having driven under the influence of alcohol.

“You called force control and told them there had been no answer at the house, which was a lie, and as we heard in evidence, this brought proper enquiries to an end.

“I have listened very carefully to everything that has been said on your behalf and the letters before me which clearly indicate you are held in high regard by a number of people. We trust police officers to be honest and fair. You breached that trust and deliberately lied. This is unacceptable. I have considered the social enquiry report very carefully and taken a long time to consider its terms. I cannot find any other way to dispose of this other by a custodial sentence.”

Shocked by Carmichael telling lies to Force Control, fellow officer, P.C. Justyna Niedzwiecka, 33, told the three day trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court she said to Carmichael “it stinks”, and claimed in return he told her “you don’t want to grass on another cop or you have no future in the police.” Several other senior officers told the sheriff that Carmichael’s actions were wrong.

The court heard 41-year-old Carmichael was sent to the home in Calderview Avenue, Coatbridge, of PC Daryl McKillion, who had been reported for possibly being drunk at the wheel.

Carmichael realised he knew the officer and did not ask him to take a breathalyser test, claiming he believed he didn’t have sufficient evidence to suspect him of any offence. Instead he radioed back to Force Control that there had been no answer at McKillion’s door.

PC Niedzwiecka, who had been on mobile patrol with Carmichael at the time of the “cover-up” on October 31, 2012, told the court she had been left “shocked” and “intimidated” by what took place. She was a probationary officer at the time.

She told Sheriff Dickson that PC McKillion had come to the door, concluding his evidence this week, Carmichael confirmed this and added: “He took three or four minutes to answer, in fact I had just turned to leave when Justyna called me back saying someone was coming down the stairs.”

It was revealed that PC Daryl McKillion, who tragically hanged himself just weeks after this incident while suffering from depression, had been reported to police by a fellow off duty officer, Detective Constable Janice Scott, 35, who saw him in a shop in Carnbroe, Coatbridge, on October 31, 2012, and recognised him as a fellow officer.

DC Scott, who has eight and half years police service, and is based with the Famiy Protection Unit at Saracen Street, Glasgow, told the trial: “I noticed he was under the influence of drink, there was a smell of alcohol from him and his eyes were glazed. He left the store carrying a bottle of whisky. I went into my car and saw Daryl driving his car into Earlston Crescent, Carnbroe. I couldn’t believe he was driving the car.”

Carmichael and PC Niedwiecka, took the call and headed for the home of the registered keeper of the black Vauxhall Corsa.

In evidence PC Niedwiecka added: “We knocked on the door and a male answered. He was sleepy, drunk and confused. His face was red and I could smell alcohol from him. He and Constable Carmichael knew each other and chatted about an operation they had been on previously. They were not best pals, but clearly knew each other. We left the house and went back to the police car and he told the controller there had been no reply at the door.

“I was shocked and surprised as it was a lie. We sat there in the car in silence then I said ‘it stinks’. He replied to me ‘you don’t want to grass on another cop or you have no future in the police if something like that happens.

Later that day she reported the matter to her superior at Coatridge Police Office, Sergeant Clare Thomson, about what had happened.

Carmichael, in evidence, said: “It was a silly mistake and I wish it had never taken place. I’m human, I made the wrong decision. It was a lie.”

The late Mr McKillion made a statement three weeks later to Inspector Colin Wylie that he had been drinking, had been in the car 30 minutes before the officers arrived and was not breathalysed.

Carmichael, was convicted of wilful neglect of duty while a police constable stationed at Coatbridge police office, Lanarkshire, on October 31, 2012 and being being an officer where an offence may have been committed and that he should have made all such lawful measures to bring offenders with due speed to justice and that he wilfully neglected his duty and violated the trust and duties of the office of Constable.

Carmichael failed to make full and proper inquiries and collate all information into the circumstances of the report.

He also provided a false report to Police Force Control by radio transmission on his police radio, saying there had been “no reply at the door” when he called to PC McKillion’s home.

A motion for interim liberation of the cop, who was led to the cells not in handcuffs, was also refused by the sheriff. Outside the court defence advocate Joe Cahill confirmed that Carmichael would be appealing both conviction and sentence.

Carmichael, who is still a serving officer, is also being investigated internally by police Professional Standards Department, who were represented in court to hear the sentence.

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