Inquiry into undercover policeman who infiltrated environmental activists begins

Ellen Branagh,Pa
Wednesday 13 July 2011 15:38

An independent inquiry will look at the way the CPS handled a controversial case involving an undercover policeman who infiltrated a group of environmental activists.

Retired High Court judge Sir Christopher Rose will lead the probe into issues arising from the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station protest case, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said.

The case sparked widespread concern after it emerged former Metropolitan Police Pc Mark Kennedy spent a reported seven years posing as an environmental activist known as Mark Stone.

Six protesters accused of planning to invade Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottingham, the second largest in the UK, claimed prosecutors dropped charges against them after Mr Kennedy offered to give evidence on their behalf.

And 20 people previously convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass all avoided jail terms, and have since been invited to launch appeals against their convictions.

Investigations were launched after it was claimed the trial collapsed when the CPS discovered Nottinghamshire Police had tried to cover up Mr Kennedy's role by withholding secret tapes of meetings.

Announcing details of the independent inquiry, Mr Starmer today said: "In light of growing concerns about the non-disclosure of material relating to the activities of an undercover police officer in these cases, I said last month that I would set up an independent inquiry conducted by a senior legal figure.

"Sir Christopher Rose has accepted my invitation to conduct this inquiry.

"The terms of reference have been agreed with him and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)."

He said the inquiry would look at whether the CPS approach to charging the case was right, and whether the CPS and prosecution counsel "complied with their disclosure duties properly", bearing in mind there was known to be an undercover officer involved.

The inquiry will also examine whether CPS arrangements for handling the existence of an undercover officer were adequate and properly followed, and whether relevant guidance and policy were followed.

Mr Starmer said Sir Christopher will make recommendations he considers appropriate, including recommendations about CPS policy and CPS arrangements for handling cases involving undercover police officers.

"Sir Christopher will have full access to all the available evidence and will examine the issues with the utmost thoroughness.

"Inevitably this will take time but will be completed as soon as is practicable."

Mr Starmer said the inquiry would "work in tandem" with an IPCC inquiry, adding: "Both organisations are committed to sharing all relevant information and arrangements are being made to ensure there is meaningful liaison between the two inquiries."

He said Sir Christopher would report his findings and recommendations to him, and he would make them public.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in