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Police officer accused of evading driving penalty is acquitted

By This is Sussex  |  Posted: July 29, 2010

<P>TRIAL: Chief Supt Adrian Harper</P>

TRIAL: Chief Supt Adrian Harper

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A SENIOR police officer accused of illegally evading a driving penalty has walked free from court.

The career of Surrey Police's Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, 45, was hanging in the balance after he was accused of faking diary entries when he was caught doing 53mph in a 40mph zone, Winchester Crown Court was told.

But after a five-day trial, Judge Keith Cutler directed the jury to acquit him.

Surrey Police has not, however, ruled out internal disciplinary proceedings and he remains suspended.

When the Courier & Observer approached him at his home in Epsom, he was tight-lipped, saying: "I prefer not to say anything at this time. Of course, I'm delighted with the outcome of the case."

Winchester Crown Court heard last week how Chief Supt Harper had activated a mobile speed camera while travelling at 53mph in a 40mph zone on the A217 Brighton Road, Lower Kingswood, on the afternoon of September 15, 2008.

Chief Supt Harper, who denied misconduct and abusing his position as a police officer to avoid prosecution, received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) a few days later, and applied to his supervising officer for an exemption from prosecution.

He was charged along with West Surrey Superintendent Johnny Johncox, 47, who was found not guilty of misconduct in a public office on Monday, July 12 in a separate trial.

Commenting on both cases, Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby, Surrey Police, said: "It is the role of the police to uphold the law and investigate cases where it is believed a crime may have been committed.

"In this case, as a result of an internal review, we found potential wrongdoing by the officers and then referred the matter to the IPCC.

"Under IPCC direction we carried out an investigation, which was then referred to the CPS, who decided there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

"Surrey Police will now consult with the IPCC regarding internal disciplinary proceedings. Chief Supt Harper and Supt Johncox will remain suspended from duty while this consultation takes place."

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