Cahal Milmo: How the IPCC's report has traduced our journalism

 

Share
Related Topics

In the wake of fresh revelations by The Independent in March that the hunt for the killers of Stephen Lawrence may have been hobbled by corruption, police watchdogs launched what was billed as a searching review of all available evidence.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission yesterday unveiled the fruits of that investigation and in so doing, missed the point. This newspaper was concerned that vital details, including the contents of secret Scotland Yard intelligence reports, were not disclosed to Stephen's parents or to their lawyers. A Labour MP yesterday underlined the point: public confidence that everything was done to catch Stephen's killers can only be restored by a fully independent inquiry; and concerns remain about the manner and speed with which this latest review has been carried out.

One alarming deficiency arose when I spotted my own name in the 24-page document attached to what purported to be factual findings about The Independent's investigation – based on an informal conversation with the IPCC's investigator in the tumult of a school run.

Paul Davies, the IPCC investigator, called me at home on 18 April wanting help with the new evidence this paper had uncovered, following painstaking examination of documents relating to the 1993 murder, by investigative reporters Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn.

After 19 years of uncertainty and hurt for the Lawrence family I felt that if a representative of the nation's police watchdog wanted assistance with an inquiry into this murky issue I was morally obliged to help.

What followed reflects badly on the very organisation whose purpose it is to safeguard the integrity of our police. While I could not speak formally on behalf of this newspaper, I said I wanted to be helpful on an informal basis. During our brief conversation I explained some of the complexity of the corruption claims and indicated areas in which I believed The Independent had raised grounds for further investigation. Since I was not main author, I suggested he contact Mr Gillard, stating he also held some documentation on which the story was based.

What was never discussed was Mr Davies' finding in yesterday's IPCC report that this newspaper "did not have any 'evidence' in the Lawrence case". That is untrue.

That informal conversation in good faith has been skewed to present a picture of The Independent's efforts to get to the bottom of the crucial question of whether corruption exacerbated the single-most damaging failure in the history of the Metropolitan Police.

This paper did not (and would never) publish without evidence. On the contrary, the many journalists who produced it worked diligently for weeks to establish that there was evidence which merited further investigation by the authorities.

An effort to assist on a matter of huge importance has been used against us. I personally will find it difficult to help the IPCC in future.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links