Former cops have jail sentences quashed

Two police officers convicted of covering up a colleague's alleged assault of a prisoner won't serve a day in jail, a judge decided yesterday.

Reuben James Harris and Benson Lyle Murphy were sentenced to 15 months jail last August after pleading guilty to conspiring to defeat the course of justice last August.

They tried to protect colleague Constable Clinton Hill, who allegedly assaulted George Tipene Harris in the back of their police car on October 3, 2004. Mr Harris was later found dead.

But in the High Court yesterday Justice Pamela Andrews quashed their prison sentences, instead sentencing them to 10 months home detention, the Dominion Post reported.

Harris and Murphy had immediately appealed their initial sentences and were bailed without going to prison.

Justice Andrews did not give a reason for her decision.

Hill is due to appear in the High Court at Auckland today charged with Mr Harris's manslaughter while a police sergeant has been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

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