A jury has found a Whanganui policeman not guilty of corruption for allegedly asking for sexual favours in return for letting a woman off driving charges.
The jury returned with its unanimous verdict a little more than two hours after it retired.
The Crown had alleged Constable Hayden Clifford Bradley, 30, had suggested to a female disqualified driver he would let her off in return for "R18" favours.
Bradley denied the charge brought against him of corruption and bribery of a law enforcement officer.
The High Court in New Plymouth today heard closing arguments from both sides.
Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke pointed the jury to evidence given by the woman about her interactions with Bradley.
Clarke said a key point was that during the woman's first phone conversations with Bradley she had found that what he said was unusual enough to seek advice from police almost immediately afterwards and had been willing to dob herself in to do so.
The Crown said Bradley would not have had a chance to get sexual favours from the woman if he hadn't offered to not charge her for driving while disqualified.
Bradley's request for an 11pm meeting, which he described as "seedy" during the recorded conversation, was also an indication something was not above board, she said.
Clarke said the accused created the situation he found himself in.
She said he had gone and changed into full police uniform and taken a police car before and used his position as a police officer to take advantage of the woman.
"That, members of jury, is corruption," Clarke said.
Bradley's lawyer Susan Hughes QC told the jury there was no connection between Bradley's decision to let her off the charge and their discussion of sexual favours.
The recorded conversation could be divided into two seperate, unrelated discussions, she said.
In the first half of the conversation she said the pair were discussing Bradley letting her off the charge and not telling anyone, and in the second half had been flirting and making suggestive comments.
Without a link between the two halves of the conversation, he was guilty of nothing, she said.
"Talking nonsense to a young woman in a police car is not a crime," Hughes said.
She said there had been "sexual banter, innuendo, that kind of thing" but it was not connected to the decision not to prosecute the woman.
"Stupid, yes, immoral, yes, criminal, no," she said.
Hughes said Bradley had embarassed his family and devastated his wife.
"He should be ashamed of himself, but a criminal he is not," she said.
- Taranaki Daily News