Detective Constable Rebecca Bryant caused the convictions of three killers to be quashed after she failed to reveal a juror in a murder trial was her son’s girlfriend.
On Wednesday 19th June 2019 a police misconduct panel found two allegations against the South Wales Police officer amounted to gross misconduct and one allegation amounted to misconduct.
It found all three charges of misconduct constituted a breach of standards of professional behaviour, which related to her failing to reveal her relationship with Lauren Jones, lying about it when confronted by a senior officer, and suggesting the juror should mislead the court to get a day off jury duty for a hair appointment.
DC Bryant sent texts telling Ms Jones “Don’t tell them who you are” on the eve of the murder trial in 2016.
Chairman of the panel Peter Griffiths QC said DC Bryant’s failure to reveal the relationship “did not comprise of a one-off error of judgment at a time when her ability to think clearly was impaired, but was a continuing breach”.
On the charge of lying to Detective Chief Inspector Mark O’Shea about the relationship Mr Griffiths said: “It was a deliberate lie on her part to a senior officer who was investigating a matter of utmost importance.”
The panel found DC Bryant’s actions in advising Miss Jones to mislead the court so she could attend a hair appointment “fell short of amounting to outright dishonesty” and therefore was not gross misconduct.
But Mr Griffiths added: “What the officer suggested to Ms Jones was something a police officer should never have suggested in the context of the circumstances prevailing at the time.
“It was certainly not something done by a police officer acting with honesty and integrity, however in the panel’s view it fell short of amounting to outright dishonesty.”
Psychologist Dr Luan Pessol told the hearing it was “90% probable” DC Bryant was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder during the trial, which she claimed was triggered by working on a murder case which “affected her clarity of thought”.
But Mr Griffiths said the panel found her clarity of thinking “was not impaired” before or during the murder trial to a degree it could have interfered with her judgment and actions “as an experienced police officer”.
The misconduct panel will now consider sanctions against the officer.
DC Bryant’s relationship to Ms Jones was only discovered after Dwayne Edgar, Jake Whelan and Robert Lainsbury were sentenced to life in prison for knifing 29-year-old Lynford Brewster to death in Cardiff in 2016.
Their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal as a result, only for all three to again be jailed for life after a re-trial earlier this year.