LATEST News – 23.10.23 The case is still with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
9th May 2023
Essex police acted illegally in handling complaints of their conduct in Jeremy Bamber’s case: Independent Office for Police Conduct (IPOC) rules. READ THE LETTER HERE.
In June 2020 Jeremy Bamber submitted 27 detailed complaints to Essex Police (EP) about various aspects of their handling of his case. Two further complaints were filed with EP in October 2020.
These 29 complaints concentrated on just two of the officers involved in the case and covered a wide range of issues. These related to deficiencies in both EP’s handling of the original murder investigation, headed by DSI Michael Ainsley, and their conduct in connection with the appeal, judicial reviews and CCRC submissions that have followed since the 1986 trial.
They also included a specific and detailed complaint about how EP used the author Carol Ann Lee to try and reinforce their case against Jeremy. Ms Lee was wrongly given access to selected case papers and photographs by the two officers the complaint was later lodged against. This material, which had never been disclosed to the defence, was made available to Ms Lee to guide her to conclude that Jeremy was guilty in her 2015 book on the case, “The Murders at White House Farm”.
After receiving the complaints, EP conducted a cursory “investigation” into them, and quickly concluded that no further action was required on any complaint made. They also decided that Jeremy had no right of review and that the defence complaints were “an abuse of process”, which they obviously weren’t.
Jeremy’s legal team then went back to EP asking them to investigate the issues properly. EP replied that this request was denied, but they did concede that Jeremy had a right of review by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC).
Therefore, a complaint was made to the PFCC for Essex about EP’s handling of the 29 issues. This complaint was upheld by the PFCC, on the basis that the response Jeremy had received to the original complaints did not meet the standards expected.
The whole matter was, therefore, referred back to EP’s Professional Standards Department for re-investigation.
Needless-to-say, the same answer eventually came back, that no further action would be taken. However, at this point, having exhausted all options with EP, as set out in the complaint’s procedure, a right of review was now available with the IOPC.
Having examined the matter in considerable detail, the IOPC upheld the legal position and were scathing about EP in their conclusion. The IOPC said that EP had NOT dealt with the complaints in a reasonable or proportionate manner, and that they had breached their statutory obligation to refer serious complaints directly to the IOPC. This was after being recorded by the force that received them, because Jeremy’s complaints met the threshold in the IOPC’s Statutory Guidance 2020. They were regarding:
“perverting the course of justice, or other conduct that is likely to seriously harm the administration of justice, in particular, the criminal justice system.’”
Owing to the death of the two officers at the centre of the complaints, DSI Ainsley and DI Ronald Cook, who were alive at the time when the original complaints were filed, the IPOC stated that they could not take further action.
The IOPC did state that rather than investigate the issues themselves, they considered that the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) was the correct body to investigate the substance of the complaints. They came to this conclusion knowing that the CCRC are actively investigating the issues at present. The full content of the complaints was lodged with the case submissions to the CCRC in March 2021.
So, it seems that EP have achieved their primary objective of protecting Ainsley and Cook from their malfeasance in the murder investigation, as they are now beyond justice.
However, EP have now been called out by the IOPC for acting illegally in their handling of the 29 complaints. It has become clear the extent that EP will go to in order to suppress any investigation into their conduct in Jeremy’s case. This is alongside their continued refusal to obey three court orders for the force to disclose the mass of key case material that has still not seen the light of day, nearly 38 years after Jeremy was wrongfully convicted.
The CCRC have, obviously, been informed of the IOPC’s decision. Now, Jeremy awaits the decision of the CCRC on whether to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal.