Home Business News Top barrister questions ‘minimal reference’ into Gray report and could ‘police have evidence of more serious offences?’

Top barrister questions ‘minimal reference’ into Gray report and could ‘police have evidence of more serious offences?’

by LLB staff reporter
28th Jan 22 10:55 am

The Metropolitan Police has asked the Cabinet Office for “minimal reference to made” in the Sue Gray report to “avoid any prejudice to our investigation.”

Top barrister has cast doubt over Scotland Yard’s claims that the Sue Gray report could “prejudice” their investigation into Downing Street parties during lockdown.

A professor of law barrister Adam Wagner has questioned, does the police have “evidence of more serious offences,” or are they being “super cautious?”

Wagner asked, “How would a factual civil service report about events the police is investigating ‘prejudice’ their investigation?”

Wagner pointed out that “police don’t, as far as I am aware, ask journalists not to report on ongoing *investigations* and often media will report on the factual circumstances surrounding a police investigation, then clam up once a charge has been brought.”

“I suppose the police might argue that there is a possibility down the line of a jury trial e.g. if. there are misconduct in public office charges, but it still seems odd to say that Sue Gray’s findings would at this very early stage ‘prejudice’ anything,” he added.

The professor of law said, “And don’t forget that most if not all of the offences at issue here (the coronavirus regulations offences) are ‘summary only’ offences, so no possibility of a jury trial.

“So why suppress parts of this report which itself will only refer those issues?”

Wagner added, “Another possibility is that arrests have been or are about to be made, in which case ‘proceedings’ have begun under the Contempt of Court Act?”

In conclusion he said there could be other factors in the police’s thinking, could it be “(a) that police have evidence of more serious offences than under coronavirus regulations, (b) they are being super cautious in the context of a sensitive politicised investigation.”

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.”

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.”

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