Undercover Policing Inquiry refers first suspected miscarriages of justice

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Owen Greenhall represented three anti-apartheid movement campaigners whose cases were referred to the panel. Owen is led by Matthew Ryder QC of Matrix Chambers. They are instructed by Mike Schwarz of Hodge Jones & Allen.

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This week, the Undercover Policing Inquiry referred the first suspected miscarriages of justice, identified through its investigations, to a dedicated panel set up by the Home Office.

As part of its terms of reference, the Inquiry seeks to identify suspected miscarriages of justice that might have occurred due to the involvement of undercover officers in alleged offences or failings in disclosure during the trial process.

The first matter referred by the Inquiry related to a protest that took place on 12 May 1972 at the Star and Garter Hotel, Richmond, when anti-apartheid activists attempted to stop a coach containing the British Lions rugby team from departing on a tour of South Africa. Fourteen activists, including the undercover officer HN 298 (“Michael Scott”), were subsequently arrested and charged with obstructing the highway and obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty. The activists, including HN 298, were convicted in the magistrates’ court without any disclosure of the true identity of HN298 to the defence, prosecution or court.

Further suspected miscarriages of justice may be identified as the Inquiry progresses chronologically through its investigations into undercover policing operations in England and Wales from 1968 to the present.

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