22 Jun 2021
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 an undercover policing operation or an operation not being disclosed when it should have been.
The Inquiry refers any suspected cases to the Miscarriages of Justice panel, which was set up by the Home Office, who sponsor the Inquiry. The panel consists of two senior members of the Crown Prosecution Service and two from the police. Following the referrals, the panel considers whether further action is required, which could include referral to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The Inquiry referred one case involving 12 individuals this week. The case relates to an incident on 12 May 1972 when activists attempted to stop the British Lions rugby team departing the Star and Garter Hotel in Richmond. 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. Thirteen of the individuals – including HN 298, Christabel Gurney and Ernest Rodker – were convicted of both offences, one – Professor Jonathan Rosenhead – was convicted of highway obstruction only, and another was acquitted. Based on the evidence received by the Inquiry to date, it appears HN 298 pleaded not guilty in his cover name of Michael Scott, and his true identity was not revealed to the prosecutor or the Court.
The Inquiry identified this case as part of its investigations into undercover operations conducted by the Special Demonstration Squad between 1968 and 1982. Materials related to the Star and Garter Hotel incident can be found on the ‘Published evidence’ page of the Inquiry website. Of particular relevance is the minute sheet enclosing associated reports.
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.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information please contact the Inquiry’s communications team:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07827 818460