Tag Archives: misconduct

CPS caseworker sentenced to 12 months for passing case files to girlfriend

Scales of
justice

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
rape.

In an apparent
attempt to impress Ward, Tranter accessed the CPS computer and
passed details of the case against her father to her.

The prosecution
said:

“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”.

Sentence

Mrs Justice Thirlwell, sitting
at Birmingham
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
months.

The Courts
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
misconduct:

  1. Ricci
    Giff – anti-terrorism officer – jailed
    for misconduct

2.
Peter
Bunyan – Sex on duty PCSO gets seven years

3.
First
Operation Elveden – 15 months imprisonment for
DCI Cashburn

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:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/cps-worker-martin-tranter-jailed-4057125

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
think?

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Ricci Giff – anti-terrorism officer – jailed for misconduct

Ricci Giff arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Giff, aged 36, was an officer with SO6. The BBC reported that part of SO6’s duties included guarding Downing Street.

It was alleged that Giff went missing whilst on duty on three occasions in late 2011. Each time, he met  Melissa Ramsden, aged 37.

Giff pleaded to three counts of misconduct in a public office. The pair met three times for sex whilst he was on duty.

The pair met in the Peel Centre, at the Metropolitan Police’s training centre in Hendon, north London. This was five miles from Giff’s patrol area. Ms Ramsden reportedly signed in using a false name.

On other occasions, the pair went to Ms Ramsden’s flat in Kilburn, North London. The Court heard that Giff left his radio on whilst the pair were together.

The Court heard that the pair met on other occasions whilst Giff was on duty but during legitimate breaks.

The BBC reported that on one occasion, after his shift, he went to her flat and she posed for photos, including one in which she was naked apart from Giff’s uniform utility belt, containing his firearm and Taser stun gun.

On Giff’s behalf, it was said that “he has paid a high price for his foolish and unprofessional behaviour,”

Giff’s barrister also said that he never missed a check during his motorcycle patrol in the capital.

Sentencing remarks

The Judge said:

“It probably in fact made it quite difficult for you to respond quickly if you were in the middle of making love to her during these periods.

[SO6] is a job of some responsibility and importance.

Of course, most of the time there would not be an emergency.

But, you are there as part of a unit in a designated area, on call ready to respond immediately to what may be an incident of extreme urgency. That is your job.”

Guidance on sentence

The maximum sentence is life imprisonment, but that would never be passed in practice.

The Court of Appeal gave guidance in relation to police officers after reviewing their previous decisions in the case of R v Bohannan [2010] EWCA Crim 2261. There is no guidance about non-police officers, presumably because there are far fewer prosecutions – not enough to draw any conclusions.

Broadly, it should always attract a custodial (prison) sentence. This is both to deter others and to send a message to the public that those that betray the trust put in them by the public will be punished.

Mr Giff’s sentence

The Judge imposed a sentence of 9 months.

Giff, who has served for 15 years, remains a police officer pending disciplinary proceedings.

The Judge made a point of stating that what he was doing whilst he was with Ms Ramsden was of little significance, however the effect – that is, the fact that he would not have been able to respond to an emergency – was not.

In cases where the misconduct is used for personal gain or criminal purposes, this is treated as an aggravating factor. In this case, although Giff can be said to have ‘gained’ from the offence, the fact they were meeting to have sex is not a crucial factor.

Image taken from BBC News.