Police officer sacked for sending picture of his penis to abuse victim
A police officer who sent a woman a picture of his penis taken inside a crown court while he was a witness in an attempted rape trial has been sacked by his force.
Pc Christopher Lintern had begun a secret relationship with the unnamed woman in 2015 after he investigated her complaint of domestic abuse against a former partner.
The Avon and Somerset officer was dismissed without notice following a misconduct hearing held by the force, which he did not attend.
The hearing heard the sexual relationship started six weeks after the investigation into the woman's complaint had concluded.
Pc Lintern accepted he breached professional standards relating to authority, respect and courtesy and discreditable conduct by taking and sending a photograph of his penis from a lavatory cubicle while on duty at Bristol Crown Court last summer.
He accepted it was misconduct but denied it amounted to gross misconduct. He also admitted the sexual relationship with the woman - known only as X - but said it was not an abuse of position but rather it was a workplace affair.
Pc Lintern, who is married, maintained she was not vulnerable at the time he first met her and was not vulnerable at any time during their relationship.
The panel heard the woman was the victim of domestic violence committed by her ex-partner who was later convicted and given a restraining order following an investigation led by Pc Lintern.
They kept in contact after the court case concluded because she did not feel the restraining order offered her enough protection from her ex-partner.
"The panel finds that Pc Lintern used his professional position to pursue and establish a sexual and improper and highly-damaging emotional relationship with someone who was, and remains, a victim," they said.
"His abuse of position for a sexual purpose amounts to serious corruption. The damage caused by Pc Lintern's corruption is plain for all to see."
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: "I welcome the decision of the independent misconduct panel to dismiss Christopher Lintern with immediate effect.
"He has betrayed the trust placed in him by the public and exploited a vulnerable victim of crime. There is no place for him in policing.
"I am grateful to the colleagues who reported this matter for their professionalism and integrity and to the investigators who brought this case to a hearing.
"In contrast to Christopher Lintern they truly represent the values and professionalism of the officers and staff who proudly serve the public in Avon and Somerset."