Leading article: The Cardiff police scandal is not over

Share

Any whiff of corruption in the police is always disturbing and needs to be investigated scrupulously, lest contamination spread. This is what should have happened, and did not happen until much later, in the case of Lynette White and the South Wales Police.

Even when eight – now retired – officers stood trial last year, more than 20 years after White's murder, for perverting the course of justice by framing innocent men, the prosecution failed for want of crucial documents which were believed lost.

This week some, if not all, of those documents turned up, in the course of an inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. They were found precisely where they might have been expected to be: still in the possession of South Wales Police. Whether they had been there all along is clearly a question to be asked. But the bigger question is what should happen next. Should there, as some are pressing for, be a full public inquiry? Should the whole thing be dropped as expensive ancient history? Or should there be a retrial?

The one step that has been taken so far represents the barest minimum: the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has ordered a review of how the prosecution was managed. The next priority is clearly for the rediscovered files to be examined and a judgment made about how and whether they might have affected the verdict. Preliminary reports suggest that, if the new-found documentary evidence had been available at the trial, it would have favoured the defence. That would leave the acquittal of the officers in place.

Given the many doubts surrounding this case, however, that assessment needs to be thoroughly and independently corroborated. And if there is any doubt, the case for a retrial is compelling. With the law on double jeopardy now changed, a retrial of the same men on the same charges would be possible – and preferable in almost every way, both to a public inquiry and to doing nothing. Indeed, it would be the only responsible and just course.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Supervisor / Housewares / Furniture

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

David Mellor has been exposed as an awful man, but should he have been?

Simon Kelner
Tony Blair speaks on stage at the 2nd Annual Save The Children Illumination Gala  

Tony Blair's award from Save the Children raises an important question: are they joking?

Chris Maume
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital