Prosecutor in ‘undercover’ case faces disciplinary action

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A prosecutor faces disciplinary action after an inquiry found he failed to establish the activities of an undercover officer during a collapsed case against environmental activists.

Retired High Court judge Sir Christopher Rose outlined a catalogue of failings by lawyers and police during attempts to prosecute protesters accused of plotting to shut Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire.

Sir Christopher said Ian Cunningham, of the Crown Prosecution Service, should have done more to establish the extent of Pc Mark Kennedy’s undercover involvement during the investigation.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said he took the findings “very seriously indeed” as he ordered disciplinary proceedings against Mr Cunningham.

Mr Cunningham, the CPS lawyer leading the case, “relied too heavily on what he was told by police in relation to the undercover officer and failed to probe what material there was in relation to the undercover officer’s activities”, Sir Christopher said.

Although there were individual failings, “at no stage of the prosecution was there a deliberate, still less dishonest, withholding of information”, the report said.

The case sparked concern after it emerged that Mr Kennedy spent years posing as an activist known as Mark Stone.

Six protesters accused of planning to invade the 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 have had their convictions quashed after previously being convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.