UK

Doreen Lawrence To Call For 'Leveson-Style Inquiry' Into Met Police Bugging Claims

26/06/2013 20:03 BST
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 22: Mother of Stephen Lawrence, Doreen Lawrence, appears at a memorial service for Stephen Lawrence at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on April 22, 2013 in London, England. Stephen Lawrence, a black A-level student was stabbed to death at a bus stop twenty years ago by a gang of white youths in a racially motivated attack in Eltham, south-east London, on April 22, 1993. Two men, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of his murder in January 2012. (Photo by Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence will call for either a Leveson-style inquiry or an independent panel to look into claims that undercover police hunted for information to smear her family, her lawyer has said.

Doreen Lawrence is expected to meet the Home Secretary on Thursday to ask for initial details about the claims made by a former Scotland Yard mole, and to ask for a full public investigation.

Her lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, said Mrs Lawrence will want either a public inquiry like that led by Lord Justice Leveson into alleged malpractice by journalists, or an independent panel similar to the one that examined the Hillsborough disaster.

stephen lawrence

Stephen Lawrence was killed by a racist gang

He said: "She will be wanting something done in public, and the nearest example is Leveson, or an alternative scenario is one like the Hillsborough panel that looks at all the material. One of these two has got to happen. Not another internal inquiry which will not be made public because they will claim it's sensitive information.

"It doesn't necessarily have to take particularly long. Leveson was done in a year, and it's a good example of something that was done in public, and quite searing questions were asked. Hillsborough was very efficient too.

"We're not talking about a public inquiry that takes years and a report that gets left on the backburner, we're talking about an efficient, focused inquiry."

Claims emerged yesterday that police had bugged meetings between officers, lawyers and Stephen's friend Duwayne Brooks, who was with him on the night that he was murdered by a racist gang in 1993.

duwayne brooks

Duwayne Brooks was with Stephen when he was killed

Mr Mansfield, who represents the Lawrence family along with fellow lawyer Imran Khan, said: "I'm wondering if they did exactly the same with Imran and myself. I will want assurances that they have not done that. It's a very serious situation.

"This has been a very sorry saga. Doreen has been extraordinarily patient."

The claims emerged after former undercover officer Peter Francis, who worked with Scotland Yard's former Special Demonstration Squad, decided to speak out about the campaigns he had been told to infiltrate in the 1980s and 1990s.

Earlier this week Theresa May said Mr Francis's claims would be investigated in two continuing inquiries - one into the undercover operations of the SDS and another into alleged police corruption in the original inquiry into Stephen's murder.

However, the 18-year-old's father, Neville, insisted that only a judge-led public inquiry would be enough to get to the truth.

Earlier today Mr Brooks's lawyer, Jane Deighton, told Sky News that, if the bugging claims were true, they were "bizarre and sinister".

She said: "It's bizarre because it's a meeting that the police sought, it was a meeting that the police felt they had to seek after the Macpherson Inquiry had found that they had treated Duwayne in an institutionally racist way.

"The meeting was sold to us as a measure the police were taking to treat him with the respect he deserved.

"It's bizarre and it's sinister that they should have sought authority to bug this meeting."

The gatherings took place in 1999 and 2000, between Mr Brooks, Ms Deighton and her colleague, and police.

Mr Brooks now wants to know whether the meeting was bugged, if he was bugged at other times, and why.

She added: "It's utterly unjustified for a police officer to ask for a meeting with a victim of crime and his solicitor and to seek to covertly bug it. Not only is it not justified, it's not justifiable, but it's also horrific.

"His main interest is to get the information about the bugging now and not to wait for a series of meetings or inquiries. What he wants is answers and he wants them now."

Scotland Yard said it was investigating the reports.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "An investigation into the circumstances of what took place has now been started by the DPS (Directorate of Professional Standards).

"This investigation will seek to establish exactly what was authorised and what happened to any material which may have been gathered, in the context of the legal framework of that time."