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Prison sentence increased from 28 days to 11 months for disgraced former Lowestoft detective

PUBLISHED: 13:50 05 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:39 05 September 2017

Police officer David Phelps at Norwich Crown Court for perverting the course of justice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police officer David Phelps at Norwich Crown Court for perverting the course of justice. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant, Norfolk 2017

A former Suffolk detective has had his sentence increased to 11 months by the Court of Appeal.

David Phelps, 42, a detective with Suffolk Constabulary based in Lowestoft, was charged with intending to pervert the course of justice for trying to get a man arrested for drugs offences to admit to a lesser offence and say his friend was innocent so Phelps didn’t have to track him down.

In a secret recording, Phelps appeared to coach the suspect on how to answer police questions to avoid further scrutiny. Rather than launch an investigation into drug dealing, Phelps made it clear he would simply caution the suspect for drug possession, saving himself time and effort.

After proper investigation, both the suspect and his friend received four and a half years’ imprisonment for possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Phelps was originally sentenced to 28 days in custody but the Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP considered this too low and sent it to the Court of Appeal for review. The court agreed that it was unduly lenient and replaced the sentence with 11 months.

The Solicitor General said: “While Phelps does not appear to be driven by personal gain, his desire for an easy investigation undermined the criminal justice system and faith in the police. Police Officers are entrusted with privileged powers which must not be abused. This is a serious crime which warranted a longer jail term.”

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