Dal Babu ought to know whether a Cabinet Office report will prejudice a Metropolitan Police inquiry – he used to be a superintendant there.
And he’s “confused” about why the Met, under its Commissioner Cressida Dick (who, like Boris Johnson, was formerly a student at Balliol College, Oxford), has asked Sue Gray to edit her Cabinet Office report to avoid prejudicing a Met inquiry.
It beats This Writer, too.
Like most of us, Mr Babu reckons a criminal inquiry should have been launched long before last week, and wonders why the Met only announced that it would carry one out after Sue Gray had done all the hard work and handed over her evidence of potential criminal offences.
After wasting many weeks doing nothing, then taking delivery of the evidence from Ms Gray, the Met then demanded that her report should make “minimal reference” to the Downing Street events it is now investigating.
Mr Babu told ITV News – well, see/hear it for yourself:
'I'm a little bit confused why this report is an obstacle to the police moving forward'
Ex-Met Police chief superintendent Dal Babu questions why police want Sue Gray to omit parts of her report and why a criminal investigation wasn't launched sooner https://t.co/MrkODERJnY pic.twitter.com/i430miPiPa
— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) January 28, 2022
The Met’s demand also seems to lack any legal weight, according to some of the most senior lawyers in the UK:
Ken Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions (DPP), said the move seems “disproportionate” in the face of “very powerful” public interest in the report’s swift publication, unless there is “more serious conduct” being investigated.(1)
It turns out he had a lot more to say than that:
Lord Macdonald told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “The risk of the police intervention this morning is that this leaves things hanging in the air for weeks and months, and that seems obviously not to be in the public interest.
“If we’re talking about fixed penalty notices – like parking tickets, essentially – if we’re talking about that kind of resolution, then to take the rather grave step to delay a report that is going to shed public light on the subject matter of what may be a major public scandal, I think that is undesirable and I think it may be a misjudgment.
“If we are simply talking about lockdown breaches and fixed penalty notices, this move by the police this morning seems to be disproportionate.”(2)
Then there’s this:
Nazir Afzal, a former chief Crown prosecutor for the North West, said on Twitter: “This is absolute nonsense from the Met Police.
“A purely factual report by Sue Gray cannot possibly prejudice a police investigation.
“They just have to follow the evidence, of which the report will be a part.”(2)
The anonymous lawyer and author known as The Secret Barrister then added: “I am a criminal lawyer, and I too must be missing something, because there is no reason I can see as to why an independent police criminal investigation would in any way be influenced by, or would seek to influence, a civil service report.”(2)
In balance, former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent and counter-terrorism national coordinator Nick Aldworth said the report could prejudice the police investigation “by disclosing the evidence that they will gather and thereby giving the potential defendants an opportunity to conceal or alter evidence”.
How can they conceal evidence that has already been handed to the police by Sue Gray? This is about matters for which the punishment is “like parking tickets” remember – not terrorism.
Barrister John Goss added: “If the report contains information which is not known to the suspects/witnesses and which the police want to ask them about to see their response, or to see whether responses of multiple suspects/witnesses are consistent. Not unusual.”(2)
Not necessary, either, on a question of whether a person was at a party or not, for which photographic evidence is believed to exist, and for which the penalty is “like parking tickets”
The BBC is now reporting that Ms Gray isn’t going to wait for the Met to finish whatever it is doing and will deliver her report – which may be edited or redacted – whenever she feels like it.
But to the frustration of millions of people up and down the UK, it seems she doesn’t feel like it yet.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: