Policewoman weeps in dock as theft charges dropped

Yvonne Forte was accused of stealing money from evidential exhibits
Yvonne Forte was accused of stealing money from evidential exhibits

A policewoman wept in the dock of Belfast Crown Court after she was acquitted of stealing money from evidential exhibits.

Yvonne Forte, 41, whose address was given as c/o Knocknagoney PSNI station, was also cleared of two counts of misconduct in a public office.

Ms Forte denied all the charges and a trial commenced in Belfast last week. During the course of the prosecution case last Friday, a Crown barrister asked that the court rise to review an issue.

The jury of seven men and five women were called back into court on Monday, and were told by Crown barrister Robin Steer that following a review of the case against Ms Forte “the prosecution will be offering no further evidence in this case in respect of all charges”.

Ms Forte had been charged with four counts of theft and was accused of stealing a total of £3,254 from evidential exhibits whilst a serving police constable, over a period from September 2009 to July 2014.

After Mr Steer addressed the court, Judge David McFarland told the jury the four theft charges, and the other two levelled against Ms Forte, were no longer being proceeded with.

The judge told the foreman of the jury “in these circumstances, I am going to direct you to acquit her and find her not guilty”.

Judge McFarland then spoke to Ms Forte. As she wept, he told her: “Ms Forte, you can leave the dock because you have just been acquitted by the jury. You are free to go.” She replied: “Thank you, your honour.”