Masturbating PCSO from Holbeach loses court appeal against conviction

Court news.
Court news.

A police community support officer, spotted pleasuring himself behind the wheel of his car, has failed to convince top judges he was the victim in a case of mistaken identity.

Former soldier, Kelvin Mackenzie, was seen masturbating in St Albans as he watched a teenage girl walking along the street.

The 50-year-old, from Holbeach, denied any wrongdoing, claiming he was not even in the area at the time.

But he was found guilty of outraging public decency at Chelmsford Crown Court in January last year.

He was handed a community order, with 100 hours unpaid work plus a £1,000 bill towards the cost of his prosecution.

Mackenzie challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal, in London, arguing that he didn’t receive a fair trial as crucial video evidence was missing.

However, his complaints were thrown out by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said there was “extremely strong circumstantial evidence” to support the case against him and his conviction was “safe”.

The court heard witness Adam Barnes saw a red Renault Megane drive slowly along Faircross Way, St Albans, at about 4.50pm on July 10, 2015.

As the car passed, Mr Barnes realised the driver was masturbating while focussing his attention on a girl aged about 16 or 17, who was walking on the pavement nearby.

The witness filmed the car driving away on his mobile phone to get a note of the registration, before ringing the police.

Investigations revealed the car was registered to Mackenzie, who denied being in Faircross Way and said he had driven straight home after finishing his shift at St Albans police station at about 4.30pm that day.

The ex-soldier, who had been a PCSO since 2005, was suspended immediately once the allegation against him was made.

He suggested the witness may have made a mistake with the registration number, but he was found guilty by the jury.

Challenging his conviction, Mackenzie argued that the failure of police to obtain the video footage taken by Mr Barnes meant he could not receive a fair trial.

Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said it would have been appropriate for officers to take steps to get hold of the footage.

But, dismissing his appeal, he said there was other evidence, including the transcript of the 999 call Mr Barnes made immediately after the incident, when he read out the registration number, and the description of the car - which matched Mackenzie’s vehicle.

He also said that, while Mr Barnes didn’t pick out Mackenzie in a police identification procedure, he gave police a description of the man he saw which was “consistent with” Mackenzie.

Sitting with Mrs Justice Thirlwall and Mr Justice Soole, he added: “There was extremely strong circumstantial evidence which supported the identification by the witness of the vehicle registration number, registered in the appellant’s name.

“We do not consider that any inference arguably arose from the non-retention of the video taken on the witness’s mobile phone.”