A POLICEWOMAN wrecked a murder trial by hiding her link to a juror – and even told the woman she could leave the crown court case to go to the hairdressers, a disciplinary panel heard today.
DC Rebecca Bryant’s lies resulted in a retrial that cost taxpayers a staggering £80,000.
DC Rebecca Bryant is accused of misconduct for failing to reveal she knew a juror at a murder trial[/caption]
Lynford Brewster, 29. was stabbed to death in 2016[/caption]
Bryant, 46, is accused of gross misconduct during her role as a family liaison officer in the murder case of Lynford Brewster, 29.
The South Wales Police hearing was told killers Dwayne Edgar, 31, Robert Lainsbury, 25, and Jake Whelan, 26, were jailed for life in December 2016.
But they had their convictions quashed after it was discovered detective Bryant lied about her knowledge of a young woman juror.
All three men were again found guilty of murder at a retrial in March that cost taxpayers £80,000.
Bryant was supporting Lynford’s family following his brutal stabbing with a hunting knife.
But when her son’s girlfriend Lauren Jones was picked to sit on the jury, she kept it a secret that they knew each other.
She also told Miss Jones that she didn’t need to change a hair appointment during the trial and advised her to say she had an “appointment that she couldn’t change.”
Presenting officer Jeremy Johnson QC said: “DC Bryant was a family liaison officer assisting the family in the aftermath of that murder and including at the criminal trial of three men for that murder.
“One of the jurors who served in the jury at that criminal trial was the girlfriend of DC Bryant’s son. She knew that and she knew that juror well.”
Mr Johnson said DC Bryant didn’t declare the relationship and didn’t encourage Miss Jones to declare it either.
The misconduct hearing also heard Bryant even offered Miss Jones lifts to court.
The policewoman sent a WhatsApp message to Miss Jones after she was told she had been selected for jury service saying: “There’s a murder trial starting 28 November!!!!!”
Miss Jones later replied: “Oo that could be the one xx.”
There’s a murder trial starting 28 November!
The hearing was told on the day before the trial DC Bryant messaged Miss Jones saying: “Are you looking forward to tomorrow?”
Miss Jones replied: “Yeah I’m quite excited! A bit nervous though because I don’t know what I’m going into xxx.”
Mr Johnson said DC Bryant then replied saying as long as she didn’t know any witness she would be “fine.”
DC Bryant said: “Don’t tell any of them who u r to me tho in case they think I’ve told u about it although u know I haven’t xxx.”
An investigation was launched when the CPS and DCI Mark O’Shea were told about the connection.
DC Bryant, of South Wales Police, initially denied knowing Miss Jones but came clean the following day.
The hearing was told DC Bryant admits the allegation that she did not declare she knew Miss Jones and an allegation that she later denied knowing her when questioned.
She also admits a breach in integrity by advising Miss Jones she did not need to change a hair appointment during the trial.
But denies that her conduct was dishonest by instructing the juror to give incomplete information.
Mr Johnson said there were text messages between the pair where Miss Jones “expressed frustration that she would be unable to attend a hair appointment.”
DC Bryant sent a message saying Miss Jones should tell the court that she had already changed her appointment from December 21 to December 23.
DC Bryant said: “You don’t have to say it’s for your hair just say it’s s an appointment you changed once.”
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Whelan, of no fixed address, was given a 28-year minimum term, Lainsbury, of Worcester, was jailed for 26 years and Edgar, of Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, was jailed for a minimum 25 years.
Dad-of-three Mr Brewster was stabbed with a hunting knife in a row with drug dealer Whelan in Cardiff in June 2016.
The hearing continues.
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DC Bryant told the juror she could go to a hair appointment during the trial, the hearing was told[/caption]
Dwayne Edgar was jailed for life in December 2016[/caption]
Jake Whelan, 26, was among the three killers who were retried[/caption]
Robert Lainsbury also had his conviction quashed before being found guilty at the retrial in March[/caption]