A police officer’s 19-year career is hanging in the balance after he fabricated evidence and then got caught in a web of lies.
Graeme McEwan admitted “neglecting and violating” his duties by failing to interview a driver and a witness following a bus crash at Aberdeen Airport in May 2016.
But when writing his incident report, the 49-year-old falsely claimed that he had done so – adding that he had asked the bus driver who had been responsible for the collision.
McEwan also wrote that he had cautioned and charged the driver – and then invented an alleged response about this from the man.
It was this claim which allowed prosecutors to take the case further as, without it, they would not have had enough evidence to prove who had been behind the wheel of the bus.
But McEwan was caught when the procurator fiscal asked for copies of the witness statements, and a more senior officer noticed “anomalies” in the internal crime reports.
McEwan pleaded guilty to failing in his duties as a police officer and appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday to receive his punishment.
Defence solicitor Paul Barnett said the ordeal was having a “catastrophic” effect on his career and finances.
He added that the father-of-two’s marriage was also under stress, with plans for him to move out of his family home.
Mr Barnett said: “He understands that he will be dismissed as a result of this matter.
“He is two years short of receiving a full police pension which will obviously in the long-term have a very damaging effect on him and his family.”
He added that McEwan had been “struggling to cope” following two family deaths in the run-up to the incident, and that there were no malicious intentions behind his actions.
“It is hugely concerning, but it is a much less sinister situation than one where he’s trying to frame an innocent man,” he said.
Sheriff Kevin Duffy told McEwan: “This is a very serious matter for a serving police officer.
“You have expressed regret and remorse for what you did, falsifying the information given to the procurator fiscal’s office.
“It was a minor matter but this has mushroomed by your own negligence and the way you mishandled the matter.”
McEwan, whose address was as c/o Police Scotland, was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work within the next six months.
Following the sentencing, police confirmed they were deciding what further action to take.
Chief Inspector Derek Hiley said: “We note the outcome of this case.
“A report on the full circumstances will be made to the deputy chief constable for consideration.”