Published: 14:00, 05 March 2014
| Updated: 14:19, 05 March 2014
Three police officers have appeared in court today accused of lying about the existence of CCTV footage of an arrest.
PCs Brett Wright, Geoffrey Keen, and Daniel Short - all based at Canterbury police station - are charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
It relates to the arrest of shoplifter Jack Harbour, who was detained in a holding room in Debenham's in Canterbury High Street on July 11 last year.
A CCTV camera recorded the arrest and the footage - which was leaked online three months later - and appeared to show the officers forcibly restrain Harbour before one of them repeatedly punched him until he collapsed.
But the officers allegedly conspired to pervert the course of justice between July 10 and October 31 "by failing to retain and reveal" that CCTV was available from the holding room.
According to the charge brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, "statements were then completed which led to a person being exposed to a risk of prosecution with intent to pervert the course of justice".
Harbour, 23, from Murston, in Sittingbourne, was later convicted of theft - but a charge of assaulting one of the police officers was dropped when the footage emerged.
The three officers were suspended from duties in October and the case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
It was later handed back to Kent Police to investigate themselves.
Wright, 40, of Manley Close, Dover, Short; 37, of Freshwater Close, Herne Bay; and Keen, 31, of Byllan Road, Dover, appeared at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court this morning.
They spoke only to confirm their names and addresses, but did not enter pleas.
Magistrates decided the case was too serious to be dealt with there and committed it to the crown court instead.
The officers were released on unconditional bail until Friday, March 21 when they will appear at Maidstone Crown Court.
They remain suspended from duties at Kent Police.