Tuesday, April 27, 2010

British Metropilitan Police to publish a report on the death of Kiwi Blair Peach three decades ago...

Mounted officer of the Metropolitan Police at ...Image via Wikipedia

British Metropolitan Police set to publish a report on the death of New Zealander Blair Peach three decades ago...

Scotland Yard is due to publish a report into the death of anti-racism activist Blair Peach in west London more than three decades ago.

Relatives of the dead man have been campaigning to obtain a secret internal review of the killing for many years. Last year Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said he was willing to publish the document but only after it had been checked by solicitors.

The report will finally be made public on Tuesday after the Crown Prosecution Service said on Friday that officials have completed their work and given their findings back to senior officers. It is understood that a copy of the report has already been passed to solicitors representing Mr Peach's partner Celia Stubbs.

The decision to publish was made after public pressure to reveal the almost forgotten review in the months after the death of Ian Tomlinson during G20 protests. But police solicitors advised prosecutors should look at it in case there is any chance further inquiries could be made and charges brought.

Mr Peach, 33, was hit over the head at a demonstration against the National Front in Southall in 1979. Members of the Met's riot squad, called the Special Patrol Group, were suspected of hitting him with a rubberised police radio or a lead-filled cosh.

The report written by Commander John Cass, a former senior officer at the Met's internal complaints department, examined his death. He is believed to have recommended the prosecution of police officers although no charges were ever brought.

Speaking last June, Sir Paul said the report should be published, possibly by the end of the year, with some details censored. Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority unanimously supported a decision to review the documents with a view to publishing them before the end of last year.

In July, former Scotland Yard inspector Alan Murray said he believed Mr Peach was murdered or unlawfully killed, but not by police. Mr Murray, now a 59-year-old Sheffield University lecturer, led a unit of the Special Patrol Group. He denied killing Mr Peach and said he did not believe anyone in his unit was responsible.

The former officer said the inquiry was flawed and a verdict of death by misadventure at Mr Peach's inquest was "inappropriate".

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said on Friday that the force is preparing to publish a number of documents after a thorough review of all the material and independent advice from the CPS. "This will include the key historic reports into Blair Peach's death by Commander Cass, and a subsequent review."

Blair Peach: Profile Blair Peach family call for Metropolitan police to admit their officers killed him (telegraph.co.uk)

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