PSNI men to face perjury charges

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Three members of the PSNI accused of lying to a court in a harassment case have been suspended and are expected to face charges.

The case, which was heard last November, involved west Belfast man James McElkerney (left) who is a member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

The former political prisoner was prosecuted for a driving offence after he was stopped and arrested by the PSNI in extraordinary circumstances near the Springfield Road in Belfast last April.

Two PSNI men falsely claimed in court that prior to being stopped, the republican socialist made an obscene gesture to the Land Rover they were travelling in.

In statements the three PSNI men based in the Woodbourne PSNI base also falsely claimed that a car driven by Mr McElkerney struck one of them. One claimed the vehicle driven by McElKerney hit his legs.

A second PSNI alleged the car “drove forward with its offside front door still open striking” the other “at his legs with some force.” A third PSNI man said the driver’s door was open and struck his colleague.

A recording of the encounter showed no PSNI member was struck. The footage was captured by a camera on a nearby property and produced in the court by the defence team.

When Mr McElkerney was acquitted the judge asked for a report to be sent to the Public Prosecution Service which, along with the video evidence, was reviewed by a senior prosecutor. The matter was also referred to the Police Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman’s office has now confirmed that it is investigating a complaint “that three officers provided evidence to a court based on an incorrect account of an incident.”

Mr McElkerney is a brother of former Irish National Liberation Army prisoner Martin McElkerney, who died after taking his own life in Milltown Cemetery last year.

His lawyer Philip Breen, of Breen, Rankin, Lenzi, said: “For such a minor offence these three police officers are facing investigation for very grave matters.”

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