Ex-detective cleared in cannabis case

A FORMER detective walked free from court yesterday after being found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.Stuart Hayward-Rutter, 46, of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, was accused of placing cannabis resin in a desk drawer belonging to Detective Constable Mark Beresford at Leiston Police Station, and falsifying a memo about the drug to the force's complaints and discipline department.

By David Lennard

A FORMER detective walked free from court yesterday after being found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Stuart Hayward-Rutter, 46, of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, was accused of placing cannabis resin in a desk drawer belonging to Detective Constable Mark Beresford at Leiston Police Station, and falsifying a memo about the drug to the force's complaints and discipline department.

Both incidents were alleged to have happened between August 12 and 16, 1999.


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The trial at Norwich Crown Court has run for more than three weeks but the jury took less than two hours to reach a unanimous not guilty verdict.

Mr Hayward-Rutter hugged his wife Jackie as he left the court. The couple declined to make any comment.

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Earlier in the trial Stephen Harvey, prosecuting, said Mr Hayward-Rutter, also a detective constable, had been jealous of Mr Beresford, who had been promoted ahead of him to acting sergeant.

An investigation into the incident by Suffolk police's complaints and discipline department in 1999 failed to find any evidence about who may have planted the cannabis in the desk drawer or sent the memo.

Mr Beresford was suspended from duty for two months following the incident before being reinstated.

Giving evidence in his defence Mr Hayward-Rutter denied putting the cannabis in the desk drawer or sending the memo.

“It goes against everything I believe in and stand for,” he said.

A juror on the case was taken ill over the weekend and was unable to attend court.

Judge Alasdair Darroch directed that the case could continue with the remaining 11 jurors after consulting with both prosecution and defence counsel.

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