Selhouk Behdjet’s family learned of the alleged police corruption that tainted the original investigation into his death only after being contacted by The Independent.
When we approached the Crown Prosecution Service last month, it said prosecutors had written to the victim’s relatives in February when the Ali Tasci trial collapsed; they had given the family the “central reasons for offering no evidence”, which included the fact that “key witnesses” had died and others could no longer be relied upon. In a statement, the CPS also said it had failed to mention the suspected police corruption in its letter – but claimed it would have done so had the family taken up its offer of a meeting.
However, when The Independent informed Layla Holliday, the daughter of Mr Behdjet, about these claims, we were told the family had not received any correspondence from the CPS on the matter – nor been offered a meeting.
Under the CPS Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, prosecutors must write to the victim’s family with a “full explanation” of the decision to discontinue the case within five working days of that date.
The Behdjet family never received such a letter and The Independent raised the matter with the CPS. Three days later, the family received a phone call from a man purporting to be a police officer, who they say refused to identify himself with his badge number.
Ms Holliday, who took the call, said the man claimed he worked on the case “in the early days”, and asked if she could remember which officers had been involved with the original investigation.
After the Behdjet family expressed concerns about the call, The Independent introduced them to a lawyer, who was able to confirm that the man, Eddie Byrne, was indeed a Met Police detective.
The Behdjet family’s lawyers finally received the CPS letter on 11 June 2014 when it was hand-delivered to their offices. The letter was dated 24 February 2014.
The CPS said the letter had been handed to the Met in February, adding: “You will need to ask the police what happened when they spoke to the family last week.”
The Met said it posted the letter to the family in February and hand-delivered a copy to the family’s lawyer this month when told that the original had not been received.