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Two police officers disciplined after woman wrongly blamed for crash

Two police officers have been disciplined following an investigation by the Police Ombudsman
John Monaghan

TWO police officers have been disciplined after a woman was almost wrongly prosecuted following a car crash.

The collision, involving two cars travelling in opposite directions, happened on a single carriageway road in Co Down in April 2015.

Both cars were seriously damaged and a number of people sustained minor injuries.

After her lawyer uncovered evidence that she was not to blame for the crash, the woman lodged a complaint with the Police Ombudsman's Office.

An investigation by the Ombudsman found that the investigating officer did not take a statement from a man who reported the crash to police, failed to seek clarification for inconsistencies in evidence or take account of marks on the road.

However, the Ombudsman did not uphold the woman's complaints that the officer had been rude or had failed to act impartially.

A claim that the officer and his supervisor failed to take action against a contractor over mud on the road, alleged to have contributed to the collision, was also found to be unsubstantiated.

Police records showed that the investigating officer obtained evidence that the contractor had been making efforts to clean the road, and that no other collisions had been reported in the same area.

Although the woman was the only person cautioned at the scene, the officer said that this had been based on initial witness accounts.

The officer explained that he had interviewed the other driver after a counter allegation had been made against her.

The officer was disciplined for the errors, while his supervisor was also sanctioned for failing to properly supervise the investigation.

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