EXCLUSIVE: THE PSNI has had to apologise after it accused a former member of the Pride of Ardoyne flute band of a further breach of a Parades Commission ruling.
The 25-year-old man was convicted in April after admitting breaching the PC determination of playing music beyond a certain point in north Belfast.
He received a four month sentence suspended for three years at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.
Now Sergeant Sean Adams, head of the PSNI’s Public Order Evidence Team (POET), has wrongly accused the father-of-one of a further breach of the PC determination in east Belfast the following month on May 9.
He told his dad, a former RUC officer, he was absolutely sure his son had been involved in the illegal playing of music outside St Matthew’s Catholic Church on the lower Newtownards Road.
The conversation was covertly recorded by the former RUC officer, a copy of which the Belfast Daily has obtained.
Sgt Adams is clearly heard on the tape saying he was “100 per cent convinced’’ he had got the right person.
“He came to me with a picture and said he was 100 per cent convinced it was my son and he was preparing a file for the PPS on the breach,’’ the ex-policeman told Belfast Daily.
“My son had left the Pride of Ardoyne band after his conviction and was not involved in a further breach seven weeks later.
“I was able to prove that he was nowhere near this incident in east Belfast.
“The GPS tracker on his vehicle proved that he was at a petrol station in Templepatrick at the time.
“Withdrawals from his bank account from a cash machine also verified his location.’’
The former RUC officer, who now works as a private investigator and runs close protection bodyguard units overseas, said that Sgt Adams’s credibility was “now in question’’.
“He rang me this morning to pass on his apologies to my son and that the file against him has now been withdrawn.
“He praised me for the way that I had handled things but that is just rubbish because I proved him wrong.
“I blew his case right out of the water. He needs to take a long hard look at himself and how a former RUC man can do the job he is paid to do.
“Is this the calibre of officer Chief Constable George Hamilton is proud to have working under him?
“I doubt it very much. George is old school RUC and knows the value of proper police work based on full proof evidence.’’