A police officer with an address of the Stormont Estate – home of the Northern Ireland Assembly – has admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Appearing in the dock of Dungannon Crown Court was 32-year-old hearing was Luke McCabe who pleaded guilty to intending to pervert the course of justice, by emailing a forged letter to police stating he was insured to drive a Jaguar car on September 9, 2022 which a road traffic collision when in fact he was not covered by the policy.
Before the charge was read the court clerk enquired if his address is Stormont Estate Management, Stormont Estate in Belfast, which McCabe confirmed it is.
No further details surrounding the circumstances of the alleged offending were disclosed during the short hearing.
Defence counsel suggested the matter would benefit from pre-sentence reports which was agreed by Judge Fiona Bagnall.
McCabe was remanded on £500 bail to attend for sentencing on March 22.
It remains unclear as to why the address of Stormont Estate Management was used as police officers and personnel can benefit from using PSNI headquarters by default.
The estate falls under the remit of the Department of Finance who were asked if McCabe is or was a member of staff and if Stormont Estates Management were aware the address was being used in this way?
Also was permission sought/obtained to use this address for court purposes and is a regular practice, if so is there a policy in this regard?
As the case came to court by way of first appearance indictable summons and having been committed to crown court for trial, Stormont Estate Management remains the stipulated bail address, (despite not being residential) and therefore published accordingly, so was this agreed beforehand?
A spokesperson replied: “The Department of Finance was unaware of the Stormont Estate Management address being used within the noted court case, the individual is not employed by, or connected to, the Department of Finance Stormont Management Unit. The Department has made contact with the NI Courts and Tribunal Service to alert them to this matter.”
Despite this no mention was made of this in court and Stormont Estate Management remains McCabe’s bail address,
Meanwhile the PSNI were asked to clarify his current employment status and a spokesperson confirmed, “This individual remains suspended.”