Cloud Cover:25 %
Today Overall:Partly Cloudy
Since I Found My Baby
Heaven Is A Secret
E. Billy Thompson
Black Eyed Girl
Vikram Dodd, Friday 1st June 2012 11:23
The home secretary has ordered an independent review into allegations that police corruption shielded the killers of Stephen Lawrence.
The decision by Theresa May comes a day after the Metropolitan police released the findings of its own review, which said it could find no evidence of corruption and that the force had passed all relevant material to the 1998 Macpherson inquiry.
Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death in Eltham, south London in April 1993 by a racist gang at least five strong, who racially abused him before attacking him.
The senior barrister expected to carry out the review is Mark Ellison QC, who led the prosecution case when two men were finally jailed in January for the murder after a 19-year fight for justice by his family. Ellison's name was revealed by Stephen's mother, Doreen Lawrence, in a statement.
Although she had asked for a judge-led inquiry into the corruption allegations, she welcomed the appointment, saying Ellison "is someone who has already shown his commitment in getting justice for me and my family".
The Guardian understands that a senior barrister who has reached the rank of Queens counsel, will be asked to examine suspicions of corruption made by the Lawrence family. One person being considered to carry out the review is a senior prosecutor.
In a statement confirming the review, the Home Office said: "The home secretary has asked for a QC-led review of the work the Metropolitan police has undertaken into investigating claims of corruption in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation."
The home secretary's decision comes after the Met's review, which gave itself a clean bill of health, began in March after allegations about corruption in the Lawrence case were made in the Guardian and Independent. The claims centre on former Met commander Ray Adams, who was a senior officer in the area where Stephen was murdered, and former detective sergeant John Davidson, a senior detective on the first, flawed investigation into the racist killing.
Adams and Davidson had been the subjects of internal corruption investigations, after which neither officer faced disciplinary or criminal charges. They retired on full police pensions and denied any wrongdoing. Adams, who left the force because of a bad back, went on to work at a Rupert Murdoch-owned company, NDS, in a senior security role.
At the Macpherson inquiry into police failings in investigating Stephen's death, the Lawrence lawyers claimed Clifford Norris, whose son, David Norris, was a prime suspect in the murder, may have tried to use his influence to protect his son and others in the gang. David Norris was convicted of the murder in January this year, along with Gary Dobson.
The Macpherson inquiry said it could find no evidence of corruption, but the suspicions of the Lawrence family have not gone away.
The Met police said it would be "fully co-operating with the review and providing all relevant material to it".
In a statement, Mrs Lawrence said while she wanted a judge-led inquiry,she welcomed the review: "Firstly, it will be conducted by someone independent of both the police and the IPCC, organisations in which I have little faith and confidence and secondly, the person conducting the review, Mark Ellison QC, is someone who has already shown his commitment in getting justice for me and my family."
She said she reserved the right to criticise the review "should it fall below the high standards I expect" and said the new inquiry was the start of a process examining if corruption played a part in denying her justice for her dead son: "I see this review as only the start of a process which, should it reveal matters which need further exploration, that will be done without hesitation."