Lawyers in Lawrence corruption probe set out six key questions

Two lawyers investigating alleged corruption in the original investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence have laid out new key questions that they will aim to answer.

Mark Ellison QC and Alison Morgan, the team that successfully prosecuted two of the black teenager’s killers, have been asked to look at claims that undercover officers tried to smear the Lawrence family, and that meetings with his friend Duwayne Brooks were bugged.

They have agreed to give a report to the Home Secretary by December 31, outlining whether there should be further action including criminal charges, and whether a public inquiry should be held into the smear claims.

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They have now released details of six questions that they are aiming to answer, the first three covering whether there is evidence of corruption and whether the public inquiry into the investigation was given all relevant information. The other three are:

What was the role of undercover policing in the Lawrence case, who ordered it and why? Was information on the involvement of undercover police withheld from the Macpherson Inquiry, and, if it had been made available, what impact might that have had on the inquiry?

What was the extent of intelligence or surveillance activity ordered or carried out by police forces nationally in respect of the Macpherson Inquiry, Stephen Lawrence’s family or any others connected with the inquiry or the family?

What was the extent, purpose and authorisation for any surveillance of Duwayne Brooks and his solicitor?

Earlier this week, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe urged the former undercover officer behind the smear claims, Peter Francis, to speak to police.

He said: “One of the critical things is to talk to Peter Francis. We’ve seen him appear on television. We know he’s talked to journalists.

“It would be really helpful if he talked to the investigators because that will help to get to the bottom of it.”

However, Stephen’s mother, Doreen, has backed Mr Francis’s insistence that he will only speak to a public inquiry.

Her lawyer, Imran Khan, said: “He should be giving evidence to a public inquiry, not staying behind closed doors and speaking to police officers. That’s the whole point of calling for an inquiry.”

Gary Dobson, 37, and David Norris, 36, were both jailed for life in January last year after being convicted of Stephen’s 1993 murder.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced last month that former West Yorkshire Police chief constable Sir Norman Bettison is to be investigated over allegations he may have tried to influence the public inquiry into the murder.

The force uncovered three documents which raised concerns that Sir Norman, then an assistant chief constable, commissioned a report on someone due to give evidence to the inquiry when it held a hearing in Bradford in 1998.

The case had been referred to the watchdog by both West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

But the IPCC found no evidence of “recordable conduct” following referrals by South Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police relating to the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the subsequent Macpherson Inquiry.

South Yorkshire Police found a file detailing how officers may have gathered intelligence on people who attended a public meeting in Sheffield in the 1990s where a member of the Lawrence family was due to speak.

But the IPCC said there was “nothing to suggest that there was any tasking relating to the Lawrence family or those connected with the family”.

All forces were asked by the Home Secretary to check their records for evidence of surveillance relating to the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the Macpherson Inquiry.

The corruption review team urged anyone with relevant information to contact them on [email protected]