We previously reported how the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had withheld vital evidence from the trials of environmental protesters who had been infiltrated by ‘spycop’ Mark Kennedy, resulting in an attempt to pervert the course of justice. This disclosure takes on new significance, given that it was the CPS again that ensured undercover police officers who formed sexual and even marital relations with eight women ‘targets’ would not be prosecuted. The part the CPS played in almost every aspect of the spycops scandal amounts to nothing less that collusion. Below is the evidence of this collusion (as well as a copy of Mark Kennedy’s operational instructions).
See also Part 1 of this article on spycops and the CPS: “The spycops and their supervisors who remain accountable (fraud, abuse, rape…)”
[Note: The above video features three activists, targeted by Mark Kennedy, speaking at the Chaos Communication Camp in Germany earlier this year. ‘Lily’ was an activist mobilising for the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, when she had a long term relationship with Kennedy (she co-wrote an article about the impact of this relationship for the Guardian). Jason Kirkpatrick was a Berlin-based anti-G8 activist, who Kennedy used as a springboard into German activism (more recently he has been researching Britain’s political secret police and is making a documentary, Spied Upon). Harry Halpin is a digital rights activist who was spied on by Kennedy in several countries.]
A. The background
First, a quote by Gordon Mills, a former senior spycop who was attached to the National Extremism & Tactical Coordination Unit. According to Mills “A section within the NPOIU – the ‘Confidential Intelligence Unit’, which controlled assets such as covert human intelligence sources (CHISs) had failed to properly manage a police undercover officer (UC) Mark Kennedy…”.
Kennedy’s boss was Anton Setchell, who was the National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE). Setchell had oversight of three political policing units – Kennedy’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the corporate advisory National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit, and the National Domestic Extremism Team (which included the unit that Mills worked for).
In other words, Setchell takes overall responsibility for all of Kennedy’s operational activities – his infiltration of the environmental protest groups, his role as agent provocateur, Kennedy’s personal relationship with women activists, etc. He must also take responsibility for how Kennedy disregarded his written intructions (see imge below – signed ‘Mark’).
B. The trials
The collapse of the Ratcliffe and Drax trials and the quashing of convictions of those who had been acccused of involvement in a planned protest at the power power stations contributed to the setting up this year of the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing. But the original convictions may have remained in force had not the true identity of Kennedy been discovered and revealed by activists. Consequently, the CPS decided at an appeal hearing to quash those convictions – mainly, it should be pointed out, to avoid embarrassing evidence being presented in open court. This embarrassing evidence – extracts of which are reproduced below – would have also provided proof that the CPS and trial prosecutors were fully aware of Kennedy’s pivotal role prior to and during the initial trials, and right up to and including the appeal hearings.
Importantly, that evidence demonstrates a conspiracy between the CPS and police to, in effect, pervert the course of justice. The six activists who were charged asked to see this undisclosed evidence but, rather than hand that over, prosecutors dropped the charges against them. Indeed, the CPS ensured that Kennedy’s evidence was kept from court.
Moreover, the Independent Police Complaints Commission later found that the CPS also knew about the activists’ plan, not only before it happened, but before many of the activists themselves.
Furthermore, Felicity Gerry, the prosecutor in the trial of the 20 activists had been informed about the existence of an undercover officer and had known Mark Kennedy’s true identity a week before any of the activists did. And so, for the six weeks before the trial, and every second she was in court, Ms. Gerry knew that a police officer had filed evidence on the case that the defence were unaware of – yet she failed to mention this to the court.
It also transpired that Kennedy had recorded a meeting that exonerated the six, but which the prosecutors and police withheld from the defence.
Danny Chivers, one of the defendants, later commented:
“We firmly believe that this trial collapsed not because of the existence of the officer [Kennedy], but because of the existence of evidence from that officer, evidence that would have supported our defence. Rather than disclose that evidence – which could have exonerated us, exposed the fact that they’d been sitting on it all along, and given the world further insights into the murky Kennedy affair – they chose to drop the case.”
According to the Guardian: “Kennedy’s draft witness statement was apparently not handed to prosecutors, but instead placed in a Nottinghamshire police safe. But, according to the documents, the material did include… the crucial “transcript of the recording” made on his watch, referred to by the code “130409/MARK”.
C. The CPS cover-up
Below are extracts of transcripts of reports by Mark Kennedy, each with the above heading (removed) and signed off by ‘M’ (Kennedy). The CPS had these transcripts in its possession some months prior to the Ratcliffe trial, but were held back from the defence team.
Note: defendants names have been hidden from these extracts for privacy purposes via a whiteout tool.
The Guardian later commented: “it was the Crown Prosecution Service rather than the police that withheld the tapes [evidence].” And “In June 2009 Cunningham [trial prosecutor] exchanged a series of emails with Nick Paul… at that early stage Paul was also aware of a “participating informant” and “sensitive disclosure issues” relating to Kennedy’s evidence.”
Nick Paul had overall responsibility for the Ratcliffe and Drax cases. Mr. Paul was in fact the Domestic Extremism Co-ordinator for the CPS Special Crime Unit and was based in the CPS’s London office. Paul happened to share that office with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer.
When Mr Paul eventually left the CPS, he entered into private practice at Doughty Street (law) Chambers, where he was eventually joined by his former colleague Mr Starmer, who is still listed as an associate tenant there. (Interestingly too, spycop Jim Boyling provided a witness statement for a trial under his false spycop identity and his defence barrister was none other than Kier Starmer.) Ironically, the highly respected Doughty Street Chambers – includes Geoffrey Robertson QC, Dame Helena Kennedy QC, etc – happens also to be the practice that represents the eight women victims of the spycops.
After the publication of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station Protest – Inquiry into Disclosure Mr Starmer, then still DPP, appeared on BBC Newsnight to defend the report. Newsnight presenter, Jeremy Paxman, asked him “Are you absolutely certain there are no other cases in which people have been convicted on the basis of the evidence of undisclosed undercover police officers?” Paxman repeated the question to Mr Starmer three times, but did not get an answer.
D. The CPS and the institutionalised rape of eight women
Over the weekend Undercoverinfo published an article on the scandal that involved undercover police officers forming sexual and long-term (even marital) relations with women, simply because they were ‘targets’ to acquire information. Seven of the women eventually agreed to an undisclosed settlement. Justice in part had been done. Ideally, however, that ‘justice’ would have seen not just signifcant financial compensation to all the women who were victims, but prosecution of the undercover officers for what they did.
But that was not to be, thanks to the CPS, which ruled that in its opinion such prosecutions would not be of interest to the public.
One analysis of the CPS decision quotes from a legal expert: “I do think they [the police officers] should have been charged and prosecuted for these activities. The women would clearly not have consented to sex had they known the men were undercover police officers. I think there is a level of deception in these cases which raises them above the ‘I love you’ sort of deception [where someone pretends to in love to convince someone else to have sex with them].”
(Note: the question of consent and undercover policing is examined in detail by lawyer Ben Fitzpatrick)
The decision by the CPS – an outfit already clearly compromised by its failure to disclose evidence in the spycops trials – must be challenged by those – an NGO? – capable of mounting such a challenge, either in the UK courts or the European courts.
In summary, not only has the CPS conspired to conceal the truth at every stage of this scandal, but it has attempted somewhat successfully to stage-manage the outcomes in order to ensure, ultimately, that no police officer faces retribution. Justice has not been done, let alone seen to be done.
Or, as Carole Cadwalladr in the Guardian succinctly put it: “…there is something deeply troubling about the case. About the way that it was women who were targeted, abused and exploited – systematically, institutionally. About the way the Met dealt with the fall-out and the question that remains: what is still happening, in our name, paid for by our taxes, carefully concealed from sight? This was sex used as a weapon. Emotional intimacy as a instrument of state surveillance.”
The full extent of how the CPS ‘managed’ the spycops scandal is yet to be revealed. Meanwhile for lots more on this see:
Prosectors and police engineering miscarriages of justice by the excellent Campaign Opposing Police Surveilance