We looked a couple of weeks ago at the case of DS Stephen Phillips and DC Jason Evans who pleaded guilty to theft after a ‘sting operation’. In brief, despite a lengthy service on both of their parts (including receiving commendations) suspicions were aroused as to their probity and so they were directed to search a house (in reality, one that had been wired for sound and video by the police). Here DS Phillips was seen taking £250 in cash, DC Evans two pens.
Both were getting custodial sentences, we opined. Although in the case of Mr Evans this did seem one that could be properly suspended.Well, on 28th April 2014 both were sentenced, and both got immediate custodial sentences of 22 and 12 weeks respectively.
The Judge noted that this was clearly a great breach of trust, which it undoubtedly was. The Theft Guidelines go out of the window in a case such as this and the length of the custodial sentence cannot really be complained about by either of them.
In relation to Mr Phillips, as Andrew commented on the last piece “cash is cash” and he cannot really complain about the sentence. I still feel that Mr Evans didn’t have to go to prison for this case. Theft by a police officer on duty is undoubtedly serious and “passes the custody threshold”, but for me the loss of his career is sufficient for theft of two pens and I would have thought that a suspended sentence would have been a proper punishment in his case.
There is no word yet as to whether there will be an appeal – we shall have a look out for it.