A police sergeant who allegedly lied about an interview with a vulnerable suspect has appeared in court accused of perverting the course of justice.
Sergeant Matthew Troth, from Shirebrook Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team, is accused of conducting an interview with an 18-year-old with Asperger syndrome without an appropriate adult present – then lying about it in his notebook.
He is also accused of lying on a witness statement, by saying an appropriate adult was present at the interview.
On the first day of his trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Troth pleaded not guilty to two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Prosecuting, James House, said that on January 19, 2013, Troth, alongside PC Gary Statham went to the home of Jake Wilton, then 18, to talk to him about an incident the night before, where he was named as the driver of a quad bike seen driving around Aldi car park on Carter Lane, Shirebrook.
He said: “PC Statham asked Jake if he had any issues, and he said that he had ADHD and Aspergers. PC Statham then told the defendant (Troth) that Jake would need an appropriate adult present.”
Mr Statham then went into the kitchen, where Jake’s parents, Tracey and Jamie were printing off his insurance documents, leaving Troth alone with him.
Just minutes later, they heard Jake’s voice from the living room sounding distressed.
“They ran back into the living room” he said. “The defendant had moved, from a one-seat armchair to the sofa. He was sat at one end and Jake was at the other. Jake had wedged himself up against the arm rest and was visibly distressed. He was pointing at Sgt Troth and said ‘He’s lying’.”
The court heard that PC Statham noticed Troth trying to get Jake to sign his notebook – protocol after a contemporaneous interview outside the police office.
“PC Statham was confused as he didn’t think anything needed to be signed” Mr House added.
Jake then ran upstairs, very upset, saying he was going to kill himself. He asked Tracey to sign the notebook and she did, without reading it, the court was told.
Monday’s hearing heard how Troth, unbeknownst to PC Statham, went away and prepared a file on Jake, saying Tracey had been present at the interview and was acting as an appropriate adult.
Mr House told the court: “The defendant says he conducted himself properly, in accordance with the law as set out by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
“He said that when he started the interview, Jake hadn’t raised any issues and he said Jake’s mum hadn’t raised any issues. He said at some point – he can’t remember when – Jake said that he couldn’t read or write so he decided an appropriate adult was needed. Tracey Wilton had then returned and he outlined her role as appropriate adult and then gone over what had already been said.”
He added: “In writing down Tracey Wilston was present in his pocket notebook and again in a statement a week later, he lied. She was not acting as an appropriate adult, she was not even in the room when the interview took place. He did that intending to pervert the course of justice.”
The trial continues.