Senior police chiefs authorised undercover police officers to give false evidence in court to protect their cover as environmental protesters, it was claimed last night.
– Police chiefs ‘authorised undercover police officers to give false evidence in court’ (Telegraph, Oct. 20, 2011):
The claims led to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary delaying a report into undercover police tactics at the last minute.
It had been due to be published today and was thought to be critical of the police.
Lawyers for a convicted protester claim a Metropolitan Police officer called Jim Boyling, posing as an activist, was prosecuted alongside their client and lied under oath to conceal his true identity.
Solicitors from the law firm Bindmans claim Boyling pretended to be Jim Sutton between 1995 and 2000 and joined the non-violent organisation Reclaim the Streets, the Guardian newspaper reported.
As part of his role, Bindmans claim, he was prosecuted at Horseferry Road magistrates court in London in 1997 for disorderly behaviour in a three-day trial.
He maintained his fiction during the entire prosecution, they allege, giving a false name and occupation and lying under oath.
Bindmans are appealing on behalf of John Jordan, an activist who was convicted of assaulting a police officer and given a one-year conditional discharge.
They claim Boyling would potentially have been able to use his knowledge of the activists’ defence to boost the prosecution’s case.
It has previously been claimed that Boyling married an activist he met while undercover in the environmental protest movement, and that he went on to have children with her.
Peter Black, another police officer who worked in the same undercover unit as Boyling, said the case was not unique.
Black said occasional prosecutions for regular involvement in public disorder were allowed to go ahead because it helped to build their credibility with activists.
A spokesman for the Met Police said the force was already reviewing issues regarding the deployment of undercover officers.
He added: “The Metropolitan Police Service acknowledges that these are serious matters and is continuing to review the situation, and will take account of any additional information that becomes available.”
A spokeswoman for HMIC said their report had been delayed to “consider the relevance” of the new claims.
She added: “We will be writing to The Guardian and Newsnight [which also ran the story] to invite them to provide any additional information they may have.”
Three different inquiries have been launched following the controversy surrounding Mark Kennedy, a Metropolitan police officer who spent seven years working undercover before turning against his seniors.
Some of the HMIC materiel expected to be published on Thursday was to have examined his role and those of his controllers.