Officer Accused Of "Lying" Is Cleared

PCSO found not guilty in Shepherd's Bush drug arrest trial

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A police community support officer accused of lying over the arrest of a man in Shepherd's Bush has been cleared.

Stefanie Loftus, 23, of Ilford, was charged with perverting the course of justice following the arrest of Benjamin Thacker for cannabis possession.

But a judge at Southwark Crown Court said she had no case to answer and ordered the jury to find her not guilty.

Loftus along with two Metropolitan Police officers - Sergeant Marcus Garvey, 44, of south-east London, and Pc Wayne Campbell, 41, of Kent - said they had found Thacker carrying the drug during a raid on a Shepherd's Bush squat, the court heard. But a recording made by Thacker during the incident suggested this was not the case, and the officers were arrested.

Claire Howell, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution case is that three officers sledge-hammered their way in, dragged him outside, found cannabis in the building, arrested him for being in possession of it and lied, saying it had been in his pocket."

Thacker's own trial was halted when his secret recording was played in court. The three officers were then charged with "doing acts tending or intended to pervert the course of public justice" between 25 January and 6 March 2008.

The officers were also accused of making false notes in their evidence and action books which led to Thacker standing trial.

Prosecutors said that between them, the three officers had created a "false picture" against someone they thought "no-one would believe".

All three deny the charges. The trial continues.

11 September 2009