'Cardiff Three' police will not be disciplined

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The Independent Online
DISCIPLINARY action will not be taken against two police officers whose taped interviews with a man wrongly convicted of the murder of Lynette White were criticised by an Appeal Court judge, it was announced last night.

Robert Lawrence, the Chief Constable of South Wales, said the officers who conducted the interviews with Stephen Miller, one of the so-called Cardiff Three, were thoroughly examined at two court trials and the evidence was allowed at the time.

'In these circumstances, it would not be appropriate to instigate a disciplinary investigation,' he said.

He issued the statement after a special meeting with his police authority to discuss the case and the Appeal Court's ruling that the convictions of Miller, 26, Tony Paris, 35, and Yusef Abdullahi, 30, were unsafe and unsatisfactory.

Lord Chief Justice Taylor criticised the officers' 'hostile and intimidating' approach when he freed the three this month, after they had served two years of their life sentences.

Giving his reasons for freeing the men, he said police 'bullied and hectored' one of the suspects during a 'travesty of an interview'.

He added: 'Short of physical violence, it is hard to conceive of a more hostile and intimidating approach by officers to a suspect.'

Lord Taylor also criticised the conduct of Mr Miller's former solicitor, who had failed to intervene at the interview. The three were all jailed for life at Swansea Crown Court in November 1990, after the tape-recorded interviews were used in evdence.

At Lord Taylor's request, the tapes have been referred to the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. Lawyers are now discussing claims for compensation.

Lord Taylor said that he had referred the tapes to establish guidelines and ensure that the police followed proper interview techniques, rather than to provoke a prosecution.

He said it did not indicate flaws in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, but a 'combination of human errors'.

Mr Lawrence also confirmed last night that there were no plans to reopen the investigation into the murder. Any future inquiries would depend on the public coming forward with new information, he said.

'There are no plans to start a fresh investigation, but if any person has any information which could throw fresh light on the events of the night which led to the death of Lynette White, we would welcome hearing from them.'

Miss White, 20, a prostitute, was found dead on 14 February 1988 in the dingy flat in James Street where she took clients. She had suffered multiple stab wounds and her wrists and throat were cut.

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