Jun 22 2012 by Craig Robertson, Dumfries Standard Friday
A DISGRACED former police officer who tried to kill his ex-wife will be allowed to keep his full pension.
John Kelly will be paid the cash – despite being jailed for the attempted murder of former spouse Audrey – thanks to a grey area in the law.
Officials from the council, acting as the police authority, have shied away from challenging Kelly’s right to his full pension, believed to be worth around £15,000 a year.
The 50-year-old will also receive a lump sum believed to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
In 2008 the council removed 65 per cent of the pension due to Adam Carruthers – the former Langholm inspector who was jailed for rape. The 65 per cent was the employer’s contribution.
But unlike Carruthers, Kelly’s crime was committed when he was off duty – making the council more likely to lose a court challenge.
The Police Pensions (Scotland) Regulations 2007 legislation states that a pension can be removed only if “the grantee has been convicted of an offence committed in connection with his service as a member of a police force ... either to have been gravely injurious to the interests of the State or to be liable to lead to a serious loss of confidence in the public service”.
A council insider said: “Consideration has been given to removing his pension but it seems unlikely we would be able to stand it up in law.
“He was a long-serving officer with no stain in his record and his one crime was committed while he was off duty and was not related to his police service so it is not clearly defined under the regulations.”
Adam Carruthers fought the reduction of his pension in Dumfries Sheriff Court. He lost the case but the council had to pick up its own bill for legal expenses.
The source added that costs were also a factor in the decision not to challenge Kelly’s pension payments.
The ex-cop was released from Dumfries prison last month after serving less than seven years of a 10-year sentence.
He’s now living with his mother in the town – a move that has caused victim Audrey to quit her teaching job and flee Dumfries.
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said yesterday that pensions were a matter for the council as the police authority.
The council refused to comment.
SNP Councillor Stephen Thompson, who is chairman of the police and fire committee, said: “I will look into this further.”
Ronnie Nicholson, the council’s Labour group leader said: “This is like rewarding someone for committing a crime and serving time in prison.
“If this the case, it is a sop for natural justice. The council should be challenging him on this and taking this pension from him.”
Kelly’s family did not respond to a request for comment.