A policeman’s career was in ruins last night after he was jailed for 26 weeks for providing false information about a speeding allegation.
Gareth Bentley, a PC at West Yorkshire Police, was convicted after a trial on two charges of doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice earlier this year.
Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, Judge Paula Tyler said there had to be an immediate jail sentence because “the public must be able to have confidence in the police.”
The case involved a blue Peugeot car which was caught on a speed camera in June 2012 on the M62 doing 67mph in a 50 mph limit. There had also been an earlier activation of a speed camera in April, apparently by the same vehicle. A notice of intended prosecution was sent to Bentley’s partner, who was the registered keeper, requiring her to identify the driver.
Michael Slater, prosecuting said Bentley then contacted the processing department of the casualty reduction section in November saying neither he nor his partner had been driving the car on either date. He indicated that the car’s number plates had been stolen and they believed somebody else was using them.
Photographs provided by Bentley to compare their car with the one pictured in June did not have the same distinctive flower-shaped tax disc or child seat as the offending vehicle.
But when he was arrested over the offences, officers found both. His partner was cleared by the jury of any offences.
Mitigating, Mark Kelly said Bentley maintained he had done nothing wrong. Bentley, a police officer since 2006, remains suspended from duty pending disciplinary proceedings.
Sentencing Bentley, 40, of Barker Street, Liversedge, Judge Tyler said that by sending the photos omitting the distinctive features of the car it was to “avoid prosecution for speeding of the driver”, a serious offence.