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Former police officer who pressured withdrawal of rape complaint jailed

Former police officer who pressured withdrawal of rape complaint jailed

Monday 25 September 2023

Former police officer who pressured withdrawal of rape complaint jailed

Monday 25 September 2023


A 27-year-old man, who was found guilty of pressuring someone to withdraw a rape complaint while a police officer, has been sent to Les Nicolles for two-and-a-half years by the Royal Court.

Aaron Cusack was employed by Guernsey Police for around five years between 2016 and 2021 and was just days into a promotion to the Criminal Investigation Department when he acted in a way that perverted the course of justice.

Guernsey Police’s website states that CID is responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of serious and volume crime. 

Jurats unanimously found Cusack guilty at a trial in July, agreeing with the prosecution case that he had used unlawful means to put pressure on a witness to withdraw their complaint. The witness was described in court as a vulnerable person known to police generally and personally to Cusack. 

He failed to disclose previous personal contact with the witness to police, visited them alone without an appropriate adult present when he pressured the withdrawal, and went through their mobile phone before handing it over to more senior investigators.  

Cusack also refused to provide pin codes to three digital devices to investigators.

Crown Advocate Chris Dunford noted that Cusack had only pleaded guilty to the RIPL offences after a judge ruled against an application that those charges brought against him were unlawful.

He had no previous convictions. 

Court.jpg

Pictured: Cusack was sentenced in the Royal Court.

Advocate Andrew Ayres, defending, raised an English Court of Appeal case to guide jurats’ sentencing considerations - which included highlighting how serious the offence being perverted is, the persistence and conduct of the defendant, and the true effect on the course of justice. 

It was accepted that a rape complaint was significant, and that Cusack's actions delayed the complainant receiving a full and objective investigation. 

But Advocate Ayres said it was “not inevitable” that a third party would’ve been charged, and a resumption of the investigation had resulted in no prosecution.

“It’s not that someone has walked away from an inevitable rape conviction,” Advocate Ayres said.

Cusack had become a Police Constable in 2016 after working in the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre, which deals with emergency calls, showing a “strong work ethic” and a “dedication to improving himself, Advocate Ayres added. 

He performed CPR on several occasions, and his colleagues thought highly of him. 

“It will be extremely difficult for him to reintegrate and get back on his feet.” 

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Pictured: Cusack went through the complainant's phone for 10-minutes before handing it over to the high-tech crime unit.

Judge Russell Finch, sentencing, said Cusack had been a “promising young police officer” until he “decided to conceal” his repeated personal contact with the complainant. 

The crux of the case was this personal relationship, he said. 

Judge Finch said Cusack seemed to “[start] to panic” when he went through the complainant's mobile phone and checked social media accounts despite being unauthorised to do so. 

The body camera footage was “highly disturbing” showing threats of prosecution and trouble for the “easily suggestible” complainant if they proceeded with a claim, Judge Finch said. 

The complaint may not have resulted in prosecution, but it still warranted a “professional investigation”. 

The public should have trust in their police officers, and Cusack's self-interested actions “overshadows and negates all of this”, “betrays that respect” and is a disservice to his former colleagues, he added.  

Cusack was imprisoned for 18 months for perverting the course of justice and one year for failing to disclose his pin codes, totalling 30 months. 

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