Real estate agent who got out of a drink driving charge by lying about how many beers he guzzled before getting behind the wheel then won a $125,000 payout from cops is jailed for FIVE YEARS
- Bernard Andrew Nash has been jailed five years for perjury after video surfaced
- Nash lied to the court to escape drinking charges and again to sue NSW Police
- He told the court he drank three light beers the night of drink driving charge
- Staff found video that showed Nash drinking seven schooners in two hours
A real estate agent who successfully sued NSW police after his lies led to his drink-driving acquittal has been jailed for perjury.
Bernard Andrew Nash was found guilty of two perjury charges, relating to false evidence he gave when defending the charge and when suing the State of NSW.
In the NSW District Court on Friday, Judge Sarah Huggett jailed him for five years and six months with a non-parole period of three years and six months.
The 63-year-old Central Coast businessman testified to having drunk three light beers before he got behind the wheel in 2011.
Bernard Andrew Nash (pictured) has been sentenced to five years jail after lying about how many drinks he’d consumed to get out of a drink driving charge and subsequently lying again when suing the NSW police
His false evidence was supported by doctored CCTV footage from Shelly Beach Golf Club, whereas the full footage showed he drank seven full-strength schooners in a little over two hours.
The judge noted the emotional and psychological harm caused to the arresting police officer, whose honesty and integrity was particularly attacked in Nash’s lawsuit.
She had no doubt Nash would have reasonably foreseen the harm his perjury would have caused to Senior Constable Michael Hicks, who has since left the force after more than 20 years’ service.
The highway patrol officer had pursued Nash on October 13, 2011, when he drove the short distance from the golf club to his Shelly Beach home.
But the law dictated he couldn’t be breath tested on his property, where he was arrested after a short struggle and served with a drink-driving court notice.
Nash was caught in his lie after a staff member at Shelly Beach Golf Club (pictured) found the non-doctored footage from the night of the drink driving charge that showed Nash drank seven schooners in two hours when he’d told the court he’d only had three light beers
He was acquitted of drink-driving and resisting arrest in mid-2012, having told a magistrate he drank no more than three schooners of light beer.
Nash then went on to sue the State for unlawful arrest, battery and malicious prosecution, being awarded $124,958 in damages after again perjuring himself.
But a club worker, who had accessed the full CCTV footage, contacted police after seeing media reports and handed over a copy she retained.
The club’s general manager, Craig Ellis, has since been jailed after admitting two counts of tampering with the CCTV evidence.
Perjury offences constituted an “attack on the administration of justice which depends on witnesses to give truthful evidence”, the judge said.
While both offences were objectively very serious, his moral culpability was very high for the second perjury when he knew he was alleging very serious misconduct against Snr Const Hicks, she said.
Nash (pictured) will not be eligible for parole until he is three and a half years into his sentence after judge said she had no doubt Nash would have reasonably foreseen the harm his lies caused Senior Constable Michael Hicks, who has since left the force after more than 20 years’ service.
The case involved a very serious attack on his integrity and honesty, including a claim he was aware Nash hadn’t committed any crime.
“He chose to maintain the perjured evidence to enhance his prospects of success to receive a financial benefit,” she said.
His conduct was not spontaneous, but calculated, pre-meditated and planned.
He hasn’t received the damages award as the case is being appealed.
The judge accepted Nash had been hardworking, provided for his family and contributed to the community, while his only conviction went back to 1979 for drink driving.
He still maintains his innocence, asserting he genuinely believed he’d consumed no more than three beers when he gave his evidence.
Judge Huggett found no evidence to support remorse or insight, but accepted the risk of his reoffending was low.