Wednesday 15 May 2013

Hackgate - Issues For The Burnton Inquiry Into The Murder Of Daniel Morgan

The latest from my regular contributor.

Home Secretary Theresa May gave evidence to Leveson plus a wealth of additional material.  Exhibit TM1 includes a detailed list of 27 concurrent 'Inquiries/Enquiries/Reviews re Phone Hacking', as at October 2011 (pp 433-4).  No 4 on her list is:
Operation Tuleta - police investigation into hacking in general terms and so far involves consideration of hard drives, and other documentation seized in historic Operations (including Ops Glade, Motorman, Millipede, Abelard 2, Nigeria, Two Bridges, Abelard 1 and Russia).
Five of those eight named police investigations relate directly to the savage murder of Daniel Morgan (see here).  It is also striking that ALL EIGHT of those Operations named by May can potentially be linked to Southern Investigations (here).  The lesser-known Operations are (from Time Line of events and linked investigations, Appendix A, Operation Abelard 2 Review)
- 1987 - Operation Russia - A covert investigation into police corruption particularly in South East London
- 1997 to January 1999 - Operation Nigeria - MET assessment and commencement of covert police investigations
- January 1999 - Operation Two Bridges - Additional MPS covert investigation examining police corruption and the murder of Daniel Morgan. Enquiry revealed information pertinent to the murder investigation. Charges brought in connection with an unrelated matter.
- May 2002 - Operation Abelard 1 - MET launched a fresh covert investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan. Led by the Directorate of Professional Standards.

Also linked to these investigations, and with overlapping oversight, are 3 senior MET officers - Andy Hayman, Andre Baker, John Yates.

Hayman was MET Commander focusing on anti-corruption during Operations Russia, Nigeria, and Two Bridges. On return to the MET from service as Chief Constable of Norfolk, Hayman was MET Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations (ACSO) with overall responsibility for Operation Caryatid - the original phone-hacking investigation into NOTW (News of the World)'s Goodman and Mulcaire.

Andre Baker has not received the same levels of public scrutiny as Hayman or Yates -  see here for more depth.

Baker was Head of Homicide for London in 2002 at the time of the Operation Abelard 1 investigation into Daniel Morgan's murder. Detective Superintendent David Zinzan led operations, with Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook fronting the Crimewatch appeal for new information - his immediate superior was Baker. Ultimately the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) determined there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution. Following the CPS decision on the Zinzan-Cook investigation, all eight suspects arrested were released (see here).

That 2002 Crimewatch appeal allegedly prompted Daniel Morgan murder suspects to instigate NOTW surveillance of DSC Cook and his wife, Jackie Hames. That Cook-Hames surveillance jn turn led to an infamous confrontation meeting between Rebekah Brooks, Dick Fedorcio, DCS Cook and his boss Andre Baker (see here).

From January 2006, Baker was Deputy Director of SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) - ie throughout investigations Operation Caryatid (phone hacking) Operation Millipede (computer hacking) and Operation Abelard 2 (the fifth investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan).

John Yates was Detective Superintendent in MET Anti-Corruption Command and led during part of Operation Russia at the time of Operation Nigeria/Two Bridges investigations of Southern Investigations - in which NOTW were implicated.  In 2006, Yates was appointed Assistant Commissioner for MET Professional Standards, then all Serious Crime, then from 2009 Specialist Operations/Counter-Terrorism. 

This means Yates had SIMULTANEOUS overall responsibility for BOTH the NOTW-tainted Operation Abelard 2 (2006-11 Daniel Morgan's murder investigation) AND the controversial re-evaluations (2009-11) of Operation Caryatid (NOTW phone hacking).

Two Parliamentarians raised pertinent issues in the House of Commons:

Gordon Brown, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Labour  (Hansard 13 July 2011, c402)
No action from the head of the first police inquiry, Andy Hayman, whose next job just happened to be at News International; no action from his successor, who had overall responsibility for two inquiries—Mulcaire and Abelard, or what is called Southern Investigations—each with vast but unexamined archives exposing criminality on a huge scale.
Tom Watson,West Bromwich East, Labour (Hansard 11 July 2011, c46)
As head of Operation Abelard, John Yates would be aware of paperwork showing convicted private investigator Jonathan Rees discussing the use of covert surveillance techniques, including computer hacking, with a close associate of Rebekah Brooks, Mr Alex Marunchak. Rees, while serving time in prison, discussed his contact with reporters from The Sunday Times. Far from this scandal being about wrongdoing at the News of the World, it is a story of institutional criminality at News International. John Yates’ review of the Mulcaire evidence was not an oversight. Like Andy Hayman, he chose not to act. He misled Parliament. 
Yates was apparently very keen retain Gold Group oversight, and not to relinquish evaluation of phone-hacking evidence outside his own Specialist Operations/Counter-Terrorism command. He of course had the alternative to recuse, and request that the Commissioner allocated the task of establishing the facts of Operation Caryatid to another MET command.

A different Command may not have lacked expertise and experience in bringing offences of blagging and hacking to successful prosecution. For example, at the same time as the Operation Caryatid investigation, is the 2006 case of private investigators Sharon and Stephen Anderson - blaggers of bank, tax, utilities and telephone accounts (see here).

Or (as yet unlinked to Hackgate) the network uncovered by Operation Barabatus in 2006-7. it exposed a criminal chain of former police officers-turned-private investigators hacking computers, using Trojan viruses, and illegally accessing the Police National Computer (PNC) data via serving officers. Eight men were convicted. (here)

So it appears there was no lack of appetite from other parts of the MET to pursue similar cases - with similar modus operandi.

March 2006 - the fifth Investigation into Daniel Morgan's murder is launched under AC John Yates, Commander Shaun Sawyer and with Dave Cook as operational lead (seconded from his then post at SOCA). [David Zinzan of Abelard 1 and Shaun Sawyer of Abelard 2 are now respectively Deputy Chief Constable and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police.]  Abelard 2 arrests followed in 2008 but, by March 2011, the case collapsed under the weight of disclosure obligations and allegations of police corruption (see here).

Dave Cook was arrested on 10th January 2012. Despite being an alleged victim of NOTW surveillance and civil litigant, Cook himself was suspected of making unauthorised leaks to a journalist and, to date, remains un-charged on bail. (Guardian)
He was arrested after the IPCC was passed information in mid-December by Metropolitan police detectives working on Operation Elveden, which is investigating alleged payments to police officers by newspapers.  Investigators working for the police watchdog have powers of arrest when carrying out an independent investigation. It is not clear why the Met did not carry out the arrest and instead passed the inquiry on to the police watchdog. A spokesman for the Met would not comment.
Cook's arrest by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) rather than the MET is indeed curious - as is this nugget from John Yates witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry:
I should add that I have been asked by the IPCC to provide a witness statement whether I authorised former Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook to provide specific information to a named journalist for specific operational reasons relating to the reinvestigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan.  I am happy to confirm that I did and will provide to the IPCC a witness statement to this effect.
Curiouser and curiouser.

In mid-May 2013, Yates wrote a lengthy article for the Independent on Sunday (here) about the Daniel Morgan murder investigations and the announcement of the Burnton Panel inquiry:
I had overall responsibility for the case from 2006 until the collapse of the last trial at the Old Bailey in March 2011... the panel will also pay particular attention to the role played by Detective Chief Superintendent Dave extremely able and committed detective...Disturbingly, he provides an astonishing link between Southern Investigations, the News of the World and phone-hacking when, in July 2011, it was revealed that the paper had used the detective agency to tail Det Ch Supt Cook and his wife at the height of his involvement in leading the murder investigation.
If Yates found this "astonishing" and a revelation to him when it "emerged" in 2011 then you have to wonder who (for more than a decade) was providing him with the selection of press cuttings relevant to his rigorous investigations - the News of the World?

Home Secretary Theresa May said:
The horrific murder of Daniel Morgan and subsequent investigations were dogged by serious allegations of police corruption. Several criminal investigations failed to bring those responsible to justice and this independent panel will leave no stone unturned to find out why.  I am delighted Sir Stanley Burnton has accepted the responsibility of chairing the panel. He brings an enormous amount of expertise from a long career at the top of the legal profession.  The terms of reference under which the panel will operate were also announced today.
Importantly, the Panel’s work will put Mr Morgan’s family at the centre of the process and the approach to this issue has the support of the MPS Commissioner and the Independent Police Complaints Commission... the Panel will seek to address the questions arising, including those relating to:
• police involvement in the murder;
• the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice and the failure to confront that corruption;
• the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists
at the News of the World and other parts of the media and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them. 

Those are three very weighty aims that clearly cover many of the issues being investigated by Operation Tuleta - and more.

Whilst the Burnton Panel "will ensure maximum possible disclosure of all relevant documentation, including information held by all relevant Government departments and agencies and by the police and other investigative and prosecuting authorities", no more details are so far available. Yet to be announced is the list of Panel members, and there is no indication on whether the Panel can compel witness evidence or only hear from willing witnesses. Neither is there an indication that evidence sessions will be public.

The timing of the Burnton inquiry is a little sketchy.  It is intended to take 12 months to Report, but mirrors the dilemma of Leveson Inquiry (Part 1) if it is unable to address the required specificity should that risk prejudicing ongoing criminal investigations or trials.  Yet anything less than a full, independent, forensic inquiry would betray assurances to Daniel Morgan's family and further damage public trust.

That is, unless the Home Secretary anticipates charges, trials and convictions soon under Operation Tuleta - or even Operations Russia, Two Bridges, Nigeria, Abelard 1, Motorman, Glade, Caryatid or Abelard 2.

Seems like a tall order.

Related Articles
Hackgate - The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"
Hackgate - Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
Hackgate for Beginners - The Murder of Daniel Morgan
Hackgate - Springwatch
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions
Hackgate - Varec Revisited - Dissent In The Ranks

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1 comment:

  1. Op Kalmyk not mentioned - look at Op Abelard II personalities and what an omnishambles it was - Derek Haslam's "statement" illuminating.