24 January 2006

Fraud by officer

Daily Ireland

Ciarán Barnes

A police officer convicted of fraud yesterday is still in the pay of the PSNI, Daily Ireland has learned.
Charles Metcalfe was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting earning hundreds of pounds a day as a bodyguard in Iraq while being on official sick leave at home.
Mr Metcalfe, whose address was given as Newtownards police station, admitted two charges of false accounting of sickness certificates at Downpatrick Court.

The court was told he worked in Iraq for £265 (£182) a day while he was supposed to be off with stress and depression.

Despite his conviction, the 40-year-old detective constable remains in the pay of the PSNI, a decision that has angered the SDLP. Co Down councillor Joe Boyle said the PSNI had no alternative but to sack him.

Mr Boyle said: “It is incumbent on the PSNI to expel Mr Metcalfe.

“By pretending to be sick he falsely used public cash set aside to help people who are genuinely ill and are unable to work.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said Mr Metcalfe is currently suspended and is the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings.

Mr Metcalfe’s defence lawyer told the court that he was under considerable private and domestic pressure at the time of his crimes and he had gone to Iraq in a bid to ease his financial worries.

He said the officer accepted it had been the “worst decision of his life” to try and “ride two horses at once”.

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