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19 June 2013, 08:24
A former Cleveland Police Authority chairman has been convicted of persuading a friend to take three penalty points for him so he avoided a driving ban and furthered his career.
Dave McLuckie was convicted of perverting the course of justice following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
It can now be revealed that 52 year old McLuckie has also been charged with witness intimidation and will be back in court on Friday.
In 2005, when McLuckie was still vice-chairman of Cleveland Police Authority and about to take on the senior role, he asked family friend Maurice Ward to take three penalty points for him after his black Peugeot was caught by a speed camera doing 36mph in a 30mph zone at Carlin How.
McLuckie, a member of Redcar and Cleveland Council who works at a potash mine, already had nine points on his licence and was facing a ban after the latest offence.
Instead, he visited his friend who lived nearby in Skelton, Cleveland, and asked him for a "big favour'' and to take the blame, the jury was told.
The deception came to light after Mr Ward fell out with McLuckie when he became ill with cancer and felt his former friend had not visited him enough.
Mr Ward, who died in January last year, wrote a note saying he had taken the points for the authority chairman.
After his death, Mr Ward's daughter Donna contacted a councillor who took the matter to the police and McLuckie, from Great Ayton was arrested.
He denied perverting the course of justice but was convicted after a week-long trial.
Before the jury was sent out, officers behind the Operation Sacristy investigation into alleged corruption at Cleveland Police revealed McLuckie had been charged with intimidating a witness last month.
He will appear at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on Friday.
During the trial, McLuckie claimed the speeding points allegation was driven by malice. He accepted he might well have been driving the car, but he had discussed the matter with Mr Ward and they had agreed his friend had been driving the car at the time.
Judge David Wood warned the points cheat that a jail term is likely when he is sentenced next month.
McLuckie, who did not react when the verdict was given, was granted bail and a pre-sentence report will be prepared.
After the case, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Tom Blenkinsop urged him to resign as a councillor.
Mr Blenkinsop said:
"No one is above the law, and that applies to every elected politician and public servant.
The Labour Party should not - and will not - tolerate this type of illegal behaviour.
With a jury finding Councillor McLuckie guilty of an extremely serious offence and the judge warning he faces a likely prison sentence, I am repeating my previous calls for him to resign as a Skelton ward councillor.
He must do this as a matter of urgency.
The people of Skelton and East Cleveland must come first. They expect and deserve far better.''