Police 'not capable of cover-up'

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Police officers were 'sloppy and made mistakes' but were not capable of covering up a murder, the Court of Appeal was told yesterday, writes Rachel Borrill.

Timothy Langdale told the court Malcolm Kennedy's conviction for the murder of his cell- mate was safe and satisfactory. 'The defence's suggestion that there was a cover-up is unsubstantiated. All of the evidence is consistant with Kennedy being the attacker,' he said.

Kennedy, 45, denies murdering Patrick Quinn, a cellmate in Hammersmith police station, west London on 24 December 1990, after both men had been arrested for drunkenness. At his trial in September 1991 Kennedy said the police had battered Mr Quinn to death.

Mr Langdale said for the police to cover up such a crime was 'inconceivable'. Police officers from two forces would have been involved and the station's documents would have to be falsified.

Mr Langdale described new documentary and witness evidence which contradict the police evidence as irrelevant. 'Just because there were inconsistencies in another case on the same night does not suggest this conviction is unsafe.'

Although Mr Langdale agreed officers had contradicted themselves on oath, this was due to the 'passage of time' rather than an attempt to protect anyone.

He said that if the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, sitting with Mr Justice Judge and Mr Justice Hidden felt that the new witnesses rendered the conviction unsatisfactory they should order a retrial.

The appeal is expected to end today.