Detective cleared in computer case

A detective accused of unlawfully accessing police computer information has been cleared.

Wednesday, 15th April 2015, 10:32 am
Ciara Campbell, formerly of Lancaster CID, allegedly accessed information on her ex - PC Stuart Swarbrick - 200 times between January 7, 2013 and January 17, 2014. She is pictured outside Liverpool Crown Court

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court found Ciara Campbell, formerly a DC at Lancaster CID, not guilty of all 11 charges, after three hours of deliberations yesterday.

Ms Campbell, 43, of Bamber Bridge, had denied three counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data and eight offences of unauthorised access to computer material under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The first two charges related to her accessing information on Lancashire police systems between 2010 and 2012, about a harassment dispute involving her friend Amanda Holman, and another woman called Rachel Lyne.

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The third charge against Ms Campbell related to her checking on a defendant – Dean Harrison – who was accused of assaulting Rachel Lyne.

He had approached Ms Holman to ask her to be a witness, the court heard.

The other charges related to Campbell accessing information through databases about her ex-partner, a PC, and his new girlfriend, based at Hutton police headquarters.

Ms Campbell told the court that the best day of her life had been joining the police force.

“I gave my soul to the job,” she said.

She accepted she had accessed the police computer about Dean Harrison and said it was to see who was in charge of the case.

She said she did not know she needed to contact her line manager before doing so.

Ms Campbell also agreed she had accessed it in relation to the harassment dispute between the two women and said she had needed to get the address of Ms Holman, who had given her information about a drug dealer.

And she said she accessed the computer to find out the shift patterns for ex-boyfriend and his new partner, so that she could make sure she avoided them.

Ms Campbell declined to make any comment after the verdict.