Friday 16th March 2012
Senior police officers investigated over murder evidence
Four high-ranking police officers, including a chief constable, face a criminal investigation over claims that evidence was withheld from a murder trial.
By John-Paul Ford Rojas
8:53AM GMT 23 Dec 2011
Adrian Lee, who heads Northamptonshire Police, together with his deputy Suzette Davenport, as well as Jane Sawyers, the assistant chief constable in Staffordshire, and Marcus Beale, the assistant chief constable in the West Midlands, were formally served with notices of investigation earlier this month.
Mr Lee is also head of ethics and policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The claims relate to a murder investigation by Staffordshire police, where all four previously served, into the death of Kevin Nunes, who was taken to a country lane and shot dead in a drugs feud. In 2008, five men were jailed for the killing.
Now the Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into the investigation. The probe concerns allegations that material and evidence that could have affected the trial were withheld from the prosecution and the court, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission, the official body that examines miscarriages of justice, is carrying out its own investigation into the case.
Nine officers have been told they are under investigation. The issuing of the notices of investigation into an officer’s conduct does not imply any wrongdoing.
Allegations being examined by the IPCC investigation include conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office.
The men convicted of the murder had lodged a challenge to their convictions with the Court of Appeal, which in turn asked the CCRC to investigate issues of disclosure in the original trial. Material uncovered by the CCRC was then referred to the IPCC. The four officers have not been suspended or arrested.
In a statement the IPCC said: “We can confirm the Independent Police Complaints Commission is managing an investigation into allegations against a number of former and serving Staffordshire police officers.”
Northamptonshire police authority said: “The authority has considered information provided by the IPCC and remains completely confident in both the chief constable and deputy chief constable.”
Staffordshire police authority added: “We can confirm that a serving chief officer has been served with a notice advising them that their conduct is subject to investigation. Such notices are not judgmental in any way and we need to let the ongoing investigation run its course and establish the facts. As a result, the police authority has taken the decision not to suspend the officer. The force and authority are continuing to fully co-operate with the IPCC.”
West Midlands police said: “The officer concerned has not been suspended.
“As always, West Midlands police will co-operate fully with the IPCC investigation.”
IPCC are not well known for being so eager to press complaints against police officers without being pushed very hard