Martin Tranter, 30, was employed by
the CPS as a casework support officer. He pleaded guilty to
misconduct in a public office.
Here’s some background on the
offence of Misconduct
in a Public Office.
His girlfriend was Michelle Ward,
whose father was being prosecuted for numerous offences including
In an apparent
attempt to impress Ward, Tranter accessed the CPS computer and
passed details of the case against her father to her.
“It may not
have been his intention to derail this prosecution, but it was only
a matter of good fortune that his actions did not have a
significant impact on that trial.”
Tranter eventually printed off
documents and gave them to Miss Ward who started to read them but
stopped because she felt “uncomfortable”.
Mrs Justice Thirlwell, sitting
Crown Court, said he had breached trust placed
in him “in order to gain favour with your girlfriend”.
“You did not just
restrict yourself to obtaining and printing statements. You
repeatedly checked computer records.”
He was sentenced to 12
obviously treat this sort of behaviour very seriously and there is
a strong deterrent element to the sentences.
We have previously looked at cases
of police officers misbehaving whilst on duty, which is charged as
It is of course relevant that
the intention was, as was pointed out in mitigation, not to derail
the criminal process but to impress his girlfriend. This acts as
mitigation – to lessen the seriousness of the offence. Obviously,
had he passed on the information for a criminal purpose, that would
necessitate a much higher sentence.
Is 12 months reasonable? Well as
usual we don’t have a great deal to go on, save for the news
reports which can be seen here:
12 months seems appropriate to
operate as a deterrent, to punish him, and to mark the seriousness
of his offence. In practice he will serve far less than that, and
probably much less than 6 months.
One might ask whether, in such dire
economic circumstances, whether it is necessary – or indeed
justifiable – to send non-dangerous criminals to prison. Tranter
has lost his job and has a conviction on his record. Would a
community penalty for this sort of behaviour not be more
appropriate, bearing in mind such a sentence is about 1/10 the cost
of 12 months in prison?
What do you