A POLICE officer cleared of wrongdoing after killing a young man in his sports car has been accused of driving without an MOT or insurance.
The families of the young men killed and seriously injured by Sussex traffic officer Stuart Chalmers have called for him to be sacked and forced to apologise.
PC Chalmers was cleared of causing the death of Luke Bland, from Uckfield, after he struck him in his Lotus sports car on the A26 on his way home from a shift. PC Chalmers was given a new Porsche and allowed to return to his job as a Sussex traffic officer after the crash in February 2009.
The 20-year-old was killed instantly when he was knocked over a fence and into an icy pond, while his friend Ben Blackford suffered injuries he will never recover from.
Yesterday Mr Chalmers refused an invitation by The Argus to apologise to the victim’s families as Sussex Police said they would consider a new independent investigation.
Speaking in Parliament, the families’ MP Charles Hendry described PC Chalmers as a “rotten apple” who had not told “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.
Despite claiming in court he was a good driver, Mr Hendry said that four months before the accident Chalmers’ Lotus had failed its MOT for unsafe tyres and had then been driven 455 miles – without a valid MOT or insurance – before being replaced.
Mr Hendry also accused the Police Federation of acting “ferociously” in trying to prevent PC Chalmers’ arrest – including threatening the arresting officer with legal action. New policing minister Mike Penning said individual Police Federation offers would be investigated.
Mr Hendry said: “What remains for Mr and Mrs Bland and Mrs Browning is a searing sense that justice has not been done. Justice was not blind, as it seems to have been applied differently to a police officer than it would have been to any other member of the public. A police officer gave partial evidence in a court of law, with no action taken against him.
“Sussex police should review again the civil case to consider prosecuting Mr Chalmers, or they must explain how they can still have confidence in Mr Chalmers as a serving officer.”
Luke’s mother, Sally Bland, told The Argus yesterday that no words could describe her loss.
She added: “When you have made promises to your child that you will get the truth, that is what you have to do.
“We have two other children and I want their confidence to be restored in the police, but at the moment that isn’t possible.”
MOT was valid
ASSISTANT Chief Constable of Sussex Police Steve Barry said off-duty cases are not referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commision.
He said: “Stewart Chalmers was found not guilty. To have pursued misconduct proceedings there would have needed to be evidence suggesting that on the balance of probabilities his actions fell below that required according to our standards of professional behaviour. Evidence of this was not found.
"We investigated the validity of the MOT at the time of the collision. It was valid. Should further information come to light regarding offences then the relevant evidence tests for court proceedings and/or misconduct proceedings would be applied.
“Asking an independent body to investigate can help maintain a family’s confidence. For on-duty incidents of the most serious nature there is a formal mechanism to refer the matter to the IPCC. There isn’t such a process for off-duty cases.
“We have not maintained the full confidence of the family in this case and in light of that I would now consider a similar off-duty incident being investigated by another force."
Sussex Police Federation we were unable to comment.