Birmingham riot deaths: Officer's immunity offer 'reckless'
- 7 May 2014
- From the section Birmingham & Black Country
A detective who investigated the deaths of three Birmingham men during the 2011 riots would have faced a gross misconduct charge had he not retired, the police watchdog has said.
Eight men were cleared of murder in 2012 and the trial heard witnesses were offered immunity from prosecution in return for statements.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found Det Insp Khalid Kiyani was "reckless" in his conduct.
It said his actions were unauthorised.
The trial of the eight men was told Det Insp Kiyani made the offer of immunity at a public meeting and claimed it had been approved by his senior officer, Det Ch Insp Anthony Tagg.
Det Ch Insp Tagg denied this and the IPCC said it found no evidence he knew about the offer or that he had a case to answer for misconduct against him.
The watchdog, however, criticised his lack of "clarity" in discussions with prosecutors, who were "not alerted to the full facts" of the immunity offered to witnesses.
'Raises more questions'
Tariq Jahan, who appealed for calm after his son and two other men were killed in Winson Green, Birmingham, said he was "heartbroken" by the IPCC's findings.
He called for a public inquiry into the actions of the police and CPS.
Mr Jahan said the IPCC report gave his family "no comfort or clarity" but "raises more questions".
He said he "had stood side by side with the police but now has lost faith in the criminal justice system".
On 10 August 2011, Haroon Jahan, 20, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, died after being hit by a car.
Eight men were subsequently charged with their murder and a trial commenced on 19 April 2012 at Birmingham Crown Court.
The trial heard on 11 August 2011, Det Insp Kiyani offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for witness statements at a public meeting.
Det Insp Kiyani alleged Det Ch Insp Tagg had authorised the promise of immunity, which Det Ch Insp Tagg denied, the IPCC report said.
When the matter came to light in court, the IPCC said trial judge Mr Justice Julian Flaux "raised concerns about the evidence given to him" by Det Ch Insp Tagg, but the trial eventually continued. The eight accused were found not guilty in July 2012.
The IPCC said while Det Ch Insp Tagg "did not intend to deceive in his evidence provided at Crown Court", he should have been clearer in his directions to prosecutors.
It found that the detective failed to keep any records or notes of the conversation.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne, however, said the watchdog had found no evidence he "knew of or sanctioned the offer of immunity prior to it being given at a public meeting by Det Insp Kiyani."
"Det Insp Kiyani was attempting to encourage individuals within the local community to come forward and provide details to progress the triple murder investigation. However, as an experienced senior officer, his offering of immunity to a group of unknown individuals without due consideration to potential offences or appropriate authorisation was a reckless act," she said.
Ms Cerfontyne concluded: "The murder investigation was a complex, high profile one and it was vital that it was carried out in a way that could command the confidence of all communities in Birmingham.
"While we cannot say what impact this issue had on the trial or the verdict, the bereaved families publicly placed their faith in the criminal justice system but they understandably feel that they have been failed by the system they trusted."
Reading a statement, alongside members of his family and those of Abdul Musavir and Shahzad Ali, Mr Jahan said: "It is difficult to accept Det Insp Khalid [Kiyani] acted in the allegations made against him without the knowledge of his senior officers.
"We have lost trust and confidence in West Midlands Police."
Mr Jahan said he found it "convenient" that Det Insp Kiyani had retired.
West Midlands Police said he had left the force as a result of the A19 regulations that require officers with 30 years' service to retire.