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Former PC weeps as he wins fight to clear name

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

Nicholas Stone has been cleared of misconduct in a public office

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A MARRIED police officer says he is pleased justice has prevailed after he was cleared on appeal of having sex with a women while on duty in Tiverton.

Nicholas Paul Stone admitted to a relationship with the woman he met while dealing with one of her relatives, but always denied raping her or having sex when he was on duty and in uniform.

The Court of Appeal last week quashed his conviction after new evidence questioned the woman's reliability.

In March last year he was acquitted of rape but convicted of misconduct in public office at Exeter Crown Court and jailed for 12 months, later cut to five months.

Following a second appeal, the 42-year-old has been fully cleared by three top judges.

A tearful Mr Stone and family members hugged each other as Lord Justice Elias finished the judgment and said there would be no public interest in a retrial.

Outside court, the cleared Mr Stone said: "I'm really pleased that finally justice has prevailed. I'd just like to thank my family and friends for their support."

The Court of Appeal heard Mr Stone, from Pitminster, near Taunton, was serving with Devon & Cornwall Police in Tiverton at the time of the allegations in 1999.

Stone admitted having sex with the woman, but denied her claims it took place when he should have been in uniform.

He was ultimately convicted on one count, which alleged he followed the woman into her home one Friday morning and had sex on the stairs.

The woman said she had returned from a school event at a leisure centre and bumped into him outside her house. The sex was interrupted when he received a call on his police radio, she said.

His barrister, Edward Burgess, produced new evidence in the form of police notebooks which showed there had been only one Friday when Mr Stone was working at that time.

Fresh evidence from a school teacher and a leisure centre worker also showed the Friday in question had been after the summer holidays began, so the woman could not have been at a school event.

Giving judgment, Lord Justice Elias, sitting with Justice Saunders and Justice Nicol, said: "We are satisfied, having heard the cross-examination, that these notebooks are genuine records of what occurred at the time.

"We are satisfied that the verdict is not safe. We don't think that the jury had all material evidence relevant to this count which they might have had."

Stone lost his job with Avon and Somerset Police which he moved to in 2001 following the conviction.

The force declined to comment on the Court of Appeal verdict or whether Stone's job could now be reinstated.

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