Following the collapse of the trial the Crown Prosecution Service have issued the following statement
CPS statement on R v Mouncher and Others
The CPS has today decided to discontinue proceedings in the trial of eight former police officers accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Simon Clements, the CPS reviewing lawyer in the case said: “The allegations against these men arose out of their investigation into the murder of Lynette White. Three men were wrongly convicted in 1990 of her murder and had their convictions quashed on appeal.
“These were extremely serious allegations that men who were then serving police officers had fabricated evidence to frame innocent people. We were satisfied at the time that this was a case which should go before a jury for trial.
“However, at the request of the judge on 28 November, a review by the prosecution of a certain section of the unused material has uncovered that some copies of files, originally reviewed but not considered discloseable at that time, were missing. This information related to complaints made by one of the original defendants to the IPCC and another complaint relating to the investigation. On inquiry, it was found that these copies had been destroyed and no record of the reason for their destruction had been made by the police officers concerned. This was the first time that prosecution counsel or the CPS had been made aware of this destruction.
“Although this relates to copies and not original files, it is now impossible to say for certain whether the copy was in fact exactly the same material that had been provided by the IPCC, reviewed and then destroyed. The destruction of those copies, along with the non-recording of the destruction, meant that it would be impossible to give meaningful reassurances that no other material had been treated similarly, thus undermining the defence’s confidence in the disclosure process.
“Given the stage reached in the proceedings, the correct course of action is to offer no evidence, thus inviting verdicts of not guilty and ending the trial.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, QC, has been consulted and is extremely concerned about the outcome. Both he and the Chief Constable for South Wales Police, Peter Vaughan, have agreed that there must be a full and detailed review of the circumstances in which this decision has had to be made and that the review will have the full support and co-operation of South Wales Police.
A full story of the trials collapse can be found in the Guardian (here)