A British police sergeant who tried to hide evidence of a dead detective's love affair to protect the man's long-term partner has failed at the Court of Appeal in his bid to win his job back.
The detective died in a road crash in 2008 and the sergeant acted to save the dead man's family further grief.
But Sergeant Neil Salter's misconduct was so serious that in December last year the High Court ruled he must quit his job - overturning an earlier decision reinstating him to the reduced rank of constable.
Salter challenged the High Court's decision in the Appeal Court but three senior Lord Justices rejected his application on Tuesday after having found the "operational integrity of the police is of fundamental importance".
Salter, described as an "old-fashioned policeman" with an unblemished record, was investigating the death of Detective Constable Ian Morton in a road crash on October 26, 2008.
Unbeknown to Morton's partner, the night before his death he had been with his secret lover, who worked for another police force.
Salter became aware of the affair and sought to protect his dead colleague's family.
Two mobile phones were recovered from the death crash vehicle, one of which Salter knew contained text messages which provided evidence of the affair.
Salter, who was the deputy senior investigating officer with 22 years service, instructed a police constable to go to a vehicle recovery centre, find the telephone and destroy it.
That officer refused and raised the matter with other senior officers, which led to Salter's arrest.
When questioned, he admitted using the words "destroy the phone" and said he was thinking out loud.
Salter said his intention was to protect Morton's family from discovering the affair.
He knew the coroner conducting the inquest into the death would require all the evidence to be produced.