Ex-constable admits ‘obstruction’ charge

Former Cop Chris Murdoch and Community Policeman  of The Year arrives at Antrim Crown Court for his trial.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Former Cop Chris Murdoch and Community Policeman of The Year arrives at Antrim Crown Court for his trial.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

AN award-winning former PSNI constable has admitted obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty.

Former Constable Chris Murdoch, voted UK Community Police Officer of the Year in 2006 for his outreach work with the Chinese community, had been accused of the more serious charge of perverting the course of public justice in relation to a brothel in Castlerock.

Last Thurday after the former constable, whose address was given as Coleraine police station, pleaded guilty to the attempted obstruction charge, prosecution lawyer Neil Connor applied for the more serious charge “to lie on the file”.

Mr Connor told Antrim Crown Court Judge Corinne Philpott that the charge should be allowed “to lie on the file, not to be proceeded with, without leave of this court or the Court of Appeal”.

Judge Philpott told Murdoch, who has since left the PSNI, that only in the most unlikely “dramatic change in events” would he face the more serious charge again.

He had been accused of perverting the course of public justice by doing “a series of acts” in relation to the brothel on June 10, 2008.

According to the charge, while working in the police call handling office, Murdoch allegedly received two telephoned complaints from an undercover police operative “in relation to two girls in an illegal suspected brothel in a flat opposite Bertha’s, or Loves Bar, in Castlerock”.

The charge also stated that Murdoch failed to tell his sergeant about his “relationship with one of the said girls who lived in the flat”, nor did he tell him about the telephoned complaints.

Murdoch also allegedly “made a telephone call to one of the girls despite having been instructed not to discuss any information relating to the matter outside Coleraine PSNI call handling office.”

He has been released on continuing bail until next month while pre-sentence probation and medical reports on him are prepared.