A police officer said to have been badly hurt in the incident that led to the death of Sheku Bayoh was “in a relationship with a known criminal” a court heard yesterday.
Pc Nicole Short was found to have been having a text message conversation with the man at the same time as she was looking up confidential files relating to him and his crimes on the police computer system, a senior officer told her trial.
Short refused to answer questions about whether or not she had leaked the data or had been “pressured” into accessing the secret files during an interview with professional standards officers.
Pc Short faces three data protection charges at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court over allegations she accessed confidential files relating to three males “without a policing purpose”.
At pre-trial hearings in the lead up to the trial the court was told she had been involved in an “incident” in Kirkcaldy that left her in a “complicated medical state”.
Her lawyers also asked for reporting of the case to be banned until a fatal accident inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death has been held, or until the conclusion of Short’s case. That was rejected by the court.
Inspector Alan Seath – now retired from the force – told the second day of Short’s trial that he was asked to investigate allegations against Short in late 2012.
He said: “Intelligence had been received that she was involved in a relationship with a known criminal, a male called Dale Innes, and that she had accessed data about him on the computer systems.”
The court was earlier told entries relating to Dale Innes had been accessed by Short relating to “drug activities”, as well as his brother Matthew Innes, for whom Short viewed intelligence entries relating to heroin dealing, violence and antisocial conduct.
Earlier a senior counter-corruption officer from the former Fife Constabulary’s Professional Standards Unit said he saw “no legitimate policing reason” for Short to access the information.
Retired Inspector Gordon Beveridge, 50, was tasked with auditing Pc Short’s use of the Fife police Crimefile system and the national Scottish Intelligence Database after concerns were raised.
The trial continues.
Sheku Bayoh, 31, collapsed and died after being restrained by several officers who were following up reports of a suspect wielding a knife.
The case is being investigated by the police watchdog.