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The death of Mark Duggan (inset) led to the riots of 2011 [Image: Daily Telegraph].

The death of Mark Duggan (inset) led to the riots of 2011 [Image: Daily Telegraph].

The Ministry of Justice has admitted that data from three semi-secret inquiries has gone missing on discs that were – get this – lost in the post.

According to the BBC, the missing material – which the Ministry of Justice says went missing after being sent in the post – relates to three investigations that examined the roles of police in the death of members of the public.

Two inquiries relate to fatal police shootings of crime suspects in London – Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. The third relates to the 1997 murder of Robert Hamill in Northern Ireland, which campaigners allege involved the collusion of police officers.

In each inquiry there were witnesses, including police officers, who were given anonymity because of possible threats to their safety – but officials have refused to confirm whether any of the missing documents include personal information relating to these witnesses.

This is yet another bungle by a failing Ministry of Justice under a failing Justice Minister – in fact, his nickname is an admission of this: Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling.

The Azelle Rodney case involved a mid-level career criminal who was shot dead by armed officers of the Metropolitan Police on April 30, 2005. In July 2013 a judicial inquiry found that the Authorised Firearms Officer who fired the fatal shots had “no lawful justification” for opening fire. The case was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether a prosecution should be launched. On July 30, 2014, the CPS announced that they had made the decision to charge the officer with murder.

We should all remember the case of Mark Duggan. He was the young man whose death sparked the riots in London – and subsequently across the UK – in the summer of 2011. The official story of Duggan’s death has undergone numerous changes, drawing criticism and suspicion from Duggan’s family, residents of Tottenham, and other supporters. These critics accuse police of misconduct and of failing to cooperate with investigating Duggan’s death. Shortcomings in the police response have also been blamed for stoking the riots, and for fueling ongoing discontent, with Duggan’s supporters stating “there can be no peace without justice”.

(Information on both these cases is from Wikipedia).

If this writer was entrusted with the delivery of documents that may include material identifying key witnesses who had been given public anonymity, the last thing I’d consider is sending it via the recently-privatised Royal Mail!

There is huge potential for – let’s call it – mischief in this matter – and we cannot discount the possibility that the Tory-run Ministry of Justice is behind some of it.

We may await the ‘outing’ of some of these anonymous witnesses with a sense of inevitability.