H/T Ian Puddick .
By Stewart Tendler, Crime Reporter .
Four London policemen were cleared yesterday by a jury at the Central Criminal Court of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Three of the officers were also acquitted of corruption charges in a prosecution mounted by Operation Countryman, the inquiry into allegations of London police corruption.
The London policemen were charged as a result of Countryman, which has cost £2m.
Two other Countryman trials have led to acquittals. As the jury announced its verdict at the end of the seven-week trial, one of the policemen in the dock, Inspector Terence Babbage, shouted: "Thank you. Thank you," and raised his hands in the air.
Afterwards, Det. Constable Paul Rexstrew said the charges had been monstrous and should never have been brought.
Constable Rexstrew, aged 28, and Mr Babbage, aged 38, were charged with Det. Sergeant John David Ross, aged 34, and Det. Constable Michael Bradley Ross, his brother, aged 31, with conspiring to pervert the course of justice by planting evidence against two men after a bank robbery and falsely claiming that articles had been found and that oral admissions had been made.
The constables and the sergeant were also charged with making unwarranted demands for money.
During the trial Mr. Babbage was formally acquitted of making a false statement.
All the charges were denied.
The allegations of perverting the course of justice revolved round an £18,000 armed band raid in 1977 and the arrest of Mr. John Twomey and Mr. Patrick Carpenter, both of West London.
In 1979 the case against the two men were dropped at the Central Criminal Court after allegations of police corruption which led to the Countryman prosecution.
Mr. Carpenter has since been convicted of burglary and Mr. Twomey is in custody charged with two cases of armed robbery in 1981.