Service dogged by history of scandals

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THE release of the Glidewell report follows years in which the Crown Prosecution Service has been dogged by scandals and accusations of inefficiency.

The CPS was heavily criticised for failing to prosecute in three cases, two involving allegations against police officers.

In December 1994 Shiji Lapite, a Nigerian, died of asphyxiation shortly after he was involved in a struggle with police in north London who were attempting to arrest him on suspicion of possessing drugs.

Mr Lapite sustained 45 injuries during his arrest. The CPS decided against prosecution.

Three months earlierRichard O'Brien, 37, a 19-stone Irishman died after he was arrested in Walworth, south London. He was handcuffed face down on the ground, and his family lawyers said that his legs were folded back against his thighs. He had 31 areas of injury on his body and died of asphyxia.

The decision not to prosecute was taken by Robert Munday, a principal Crown prosecutor, and was approved by senior officials, including Dame Barbara Mills.

In 1995, the CPS decided not to prosecute Tony Diedrick, the former boyfriend of gynaecologist Joan Francisco, 27, who was strangled at her home in London on Boxing Day 1994. This was despite the fact that there was evidence that Diedrick allegedly stalked and harassed the doctor for years before hand.

The victim's family eventually won a civil action against Diedrick, 38, when a High Court judge named him as the murderer.