10 June 2010

Troubled By Julie

"I got these Raybans from a crime scene, Bolly. Found them in the murder victims' bedroom. Nothing to do with the crime but I bagged them as evidence; after the trial was over I retrieved them from being destroyed. Happens all the time; no judge would convict a copper for that."

Meanwhile, moving from fiction to fact ...

There's something troubling about the story covered by one of the local newspapers under, Relief for detective Julie Hays as theft charges dropped.

The story explains,

"A WOMAN detective accused of stealing clothes and shoes which were due to be destroyed walked free from court yesterday after the prosecution formally withdrew charges.


Ms Hays, a 39-year-old detective constable with Northumbria Police, was due to stand trial next month accused of stealing two pairs of shoes and two jackets on July 21 last year.


In March when Ms Hays appeared in the dock, the CPS insisted on proceeding with the case despite judge Christopher Prince repeatedly questioning their barrister as to whether it was “in the public interest”.

The jackets and shoes, believed to have been evidence from a murder investigation, were due to be burnt, Judge Prince was told at a case management hearing.

Paul Newcombe, for the prosecution at that hearing, argued that the items in question were valued at £1,200.

The judge retorted: “That is ridiculous.

“Their value is zero, that is why they were going in the bin.”

The CPS shouldn't have caved into the Judge. The Judge was wrong in his assessment of the value of the items; this is determined by the market, not by him.

Further, we were denied the facts of the case whilst Detective Hays was denied the opportunity to clear her name. I don't know whether or not the abduction illustrated by the picture at the head of this post is close to what happened but this sort of thing will be going through the minds of many people who read this tale.

Sad day for all with regard to justice which was neither done nor seen to be done.
Update 4th May 2011 Allegations of this sort of appropriation has appeared again, "Gun police suspended over photograph"
"Eight members of a police force's elite gun crime unit have been suspended for "inappropriate behaviour".

The officers, part of Merseyside Police's Matrix Disruption Unit, are facing a misconduct investigation by their force's professional standards department.
There are also allegations that items seized during search operations later appeared on the internet auction site eBay."

Update 1st June 2011. The BBC asks, Who, What, Why: Is taking rubbish illegal? explaining,
"A woman has admitted handling stolen goods after being accused of taking potato waffles, pies, and 100 packets of ham from a bin outside of a Tesco Express in Essex. But if something is thrown away, when is it illegal to take it?

Sacha Hall, 22, denied a charge of theft, which was left to lie on file, over taking the items said to be worth a total of £215, which the grocery store had discarded after a power cut had spoiled large amounts of food.

Hall said dozens of people had taken food from the Tesco bins but that she had only received a bag, mainly containing ham, brought to her flat by a friend."
The article gives more details and other examples from case law.


  1. And the definition of theft is ...??

  2. Section 1(1) of the Theft Act 1968 provides,

    "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly."

  3. As the items were to be destroyed, no one would be deprived.

    Also the notion of them "belonging" to anyone is contentious in these circs.

    Ms Hays may have failed in the observance of procedures but that would be a police disciplinary matter, not for the Courts in this case.

  4. "As the items were to be destroyed, no one would be deprived."

    If I decided to destroy some of your property, wouldn't you be deprived?

    "Also the notion of them "belonging" to anyone is contentious in these circs."

    How do you know? There wasn't a trial so all of the facts aren't available to either of us. That is why I suggest that justice hasn't been done.

    "Ms Hays may have failed in the observance of procedures but that would be a police disciplinary matter, not for the Courts in this case."

    Again, how do you know? I agree that the prosecution's case could have been a load of rubbish; but then again, not.

    We simply do not know.

  5. So did the goods belong to the Police? If so they were considered of no value and to be destroyed so Ms Hays would've been "recycling" them.

    Did they not belong to the Police? In which case the Police would've been wilfully destroying someone's property.

    It's as well no one reads your blog as you are impugning Julie Hayes with suspicions based on a work of dramatic fiction you have seen. It could land you in very hot water.

  6. Hi Anon

    Are you familiar with Charleston v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd?