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Police officers to be charged following 2013 death of Bijan Ebrahimi

05/12/2014

Three police constables and a police community support officer will be charged with misconduct in a public office following the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol in July 2013, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced today [Friday, 5 December].

Mr Ebrahimi was murdered on 14 July 2013 because some of his neighbours wrongly believed he was a paedophile. Two men were later jailed in connection with his death; Lee James for life for murder and Stephen Norley for four years for assisting an offender.

A full file of evidence was submitted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in October 2014 following their investigation into the way police officers are alleged to have responded to events and to contact from Mr Ebrahimi during the days leading to his death.

Malcolm McHaffie, CPS Deputy Head of Special Crime, said: "PCs Kevin Duffy, Helen Harris and Leanne Winter, all of Avon & Somerset Constabulary, are to be charged with misconduct in public office for allegedly failing to respond to allegations and calls for help from Mr Ebrahimi.

"PCSO Andrew Passmore is to be charged with misconduct in public office for allegedly giving false information to the 999 operator that he was outside Mr Ebrahimi's home at an important time. He will also be charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly giving different accounts to the police murder investigation and the IPCC investigation.

"As part of our review of this case, we have also decided that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges of misconduct in public office against two other members of Avon & Somerset Constabulary staff - a police emergency call taker and an emergency call supervisor.

"The decision to prosecute was reached after careful consideration of the evidence and was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is sufficient evidence to give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.

"All four individuals will appear at Bristol Magistrates' Court for a preliminary hearing on 14 January 2015.

"Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the aforementioned individuals have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. The charges are as follows:
    • Kevin Duffy between 10 and 15 July 2013 at Bristol, while acting as a public officer, namely a police constable, wilfully misconducted himself in relation to his dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi, contrary to common law
    • Helen Harris between 10 and 15 July 2013 at Bristol, while acting as a public officer, namely a police constable, wilfully misconducted herself in relation to her dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi, contrary to common law
    • Leanne Winter between 10 and 15 July 2013 at Bristol, while acting as a public officer, namely a police constable, wilfully misconducted herself in relation to her dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi, contrary to common law
    • Andrew Passmore between 11 and 15 July 2013 at Bristol, while acting as a public officer, namely a police community support officer, wilfully misconducted himself in relation to his dealings with Bijan Ebrahimi, contrary to common law
    • Andrew Passmore between 11 July and 12 November 2013 at Bristol, with intent to pervert the course of justice, did a series of acts which had a tendency to pervert the course of justice in that he lied about an area being quiet and repeated that lie in two witness statements, contrary to common law.
  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.