Trial collapses after CPS accused of covering up Metropolitan Police corruption

Monday 25 January 2016

Criminal prosecutors have been accused of suppressing evidence of police corruption in the trial of former solicitor, Bhadresh Gohil, who was charged with making false allegations of police corruption. Stephen Kamlish QC and Catherine Oborne of Garden Court Chambers represented Mr Gohil.

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The case has been widely reported in the media, including the Observer, the BBC and The Sunday Times.

Mr Gohil was previously convicted in 2010 of money laundering for the prominent Nigerian politician James Ibori. Mr Gohil appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeal based on evidence of a corrupt relationship between a firm of private investigators hired by Ibori (called Risc Management Ltd) and the Metropolitan Police.  In particular, the allegations made by Mr Gohil were that Risc Management staff had passed confidential information from the defence to the Metropolitan Police and that police had provided confidential information to the defence about the police investigation into Ibori in return for payment.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal based on a prosecution claim that there was nothing to disclose about these assertions.

The Crown then decided to prosecute Mr Gohil for perverting the course of justice by making the allegations of police corruption.  Mr Gohil's defence was that there was, in fact, a corrupt relationship between the Metropolitan Police and Risc Management involving the improper passing of information, which included police taking bribes.  His defence also involved claiming that the prosecution had been fully aware that the corruption existed and had withheld material from the Court of Appeal in bad faith.

On 21 January 2016, 18 months after the case began, and on the second day of trial proceedings, the Crown offered no evidence against Mr Gohil and not guilty verdicts were recorded.  The Crown were invited by the trial judge to give reasons for the request that not guilty verdicts be recorded but was told by the prosecution that it was not possible to do so. The Director of Public Prosecutions was personally involved in the decision that the case should not proceed.

Following the verdicts, Stephen Kamlish QC stated in court that the Crown were not proceeding, either because they accepted that the corruption was going on, or that the prosecution had been an abuse of process, or both.

Stephen Kamlish QC and Catherine Oborne are members of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team, winners of the Legal 500 Crime Set of the Year Award 2015.

Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors instructed on this case.

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