Police spying and corruption at heart of Lawrence case

Stephen Lawrence Image copyright AFP
Image caption More revelations about undercover police are expected to follow

At the heart of the story, two police scandals - spying and corruption. And linking them both, the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

His family were spied on by the Metropolitan Police Service apparently fearful of the reputational and social consequences of its own botched murder investigation. An investigation beset by allegations of corruption.

More revelations about undercover police are set to follow.

The home secretary has asked Mark Ellison to identify specific cases where they may have caused miscarriages of justice.

One has already been well documented: 29 climate change protesters had their convictions quashed in January because the case against them involved undisclosed information gathered by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.

In the words of the prosecutor, it was a "catastrophic failure of disclosure".

I understand lawyers have raised other cases with the Crown Prosecution Service, but have yet to receive a response.

'Police spies'

In a separate development, police investigation Operation Herne has revealed that three undercover officers - one of whom is still serving - could face prosecution.

Meanwhile, several women duped into sexual relationships with so-called police spies are suing the Met and trying to force it to divulge details in court.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mark Ellison has been asked to identify specific cases where undercover police may have caused miscarriages of justice

The Met, pursuing a "neither confirm nor deny" policy on individual officers, wants the cases heard in secret.

On the other issue of police corruption, more is expected to arise during another ongoing inquiry into the 1987 axe murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.

Officers involved in that case are suspected of connections to John Davidson, the detective on the Lawrence investigation fingered in today's report.

The family of Mr Morgan have for 27 years complained about a cover-up of the role police corruption played in the failure to secure a single conviction for his death.

Given the passage of time, the shredding of documents and withholding of information in the Lawrence case - nobody is holding their breath.

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