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CPS decision on investigation into police handling of protected witness in Kevin Nunes murder case

23/01/2014

Simon Orme, specialist lawyer in the CPS Special Crime decision, said: "I have been asked to consider evidence in relation to six former or serving Staffordshire police officers to determine whether or not they should be prosecuted in relation to their handling of a protected witness in connection with the murder of Kevin Nunes in 2002.

"The investigation into the matter has been conducted in two parts. These decisions relate to the first part of the investigation, namely the allegations that those dealing with the protected witness and their immediate supervisors had perverted the course of justice by failing to record and report that he had potentially stolen a sum of money.

"I have determined there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of convicting five of the six officers for this offence. A decision in relation to the sixth officer will be made following submission of evidence relating to the second part of the investigation.

"To prove an offence of perverting the course of justice, the prosecution would need to demonstrate that the failure to document the potential theft was a deliberate act intended to pervert the course of justice.

"It was alleged the incident was not recorded in an attempt to cover-up the witness' misbehaviour and present him in a better light. However, detailed recording of many other incidents that illustrated his misbehaviour undermines this suggestion and there is insufficient evidence to prove any other motive.

"The only evidence to support the allegation that the five officers conspired together to pervert the course of justice by collectively agreeing to omit details of alleged theft is statements allegedly made by one officer to another. I have determined that these would not be admissible as hearsay evidence and there is no other evidence to support the allegations.

"As such I have determined no charges should brought against any of the five officers.

"I was also asked to consider one allegation of theft of a mobile phone by one of the five officers. On the available evidence, including documentation relating to the purchase of communications equipment by police, it is not possible to determine exactly what was bought, or that the police officer then kept a specific mobile phone for his personal use. I have therefore determined there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that an offence of theft has been committed and no charges should be brought.

"We await the submission of a complete file of evidence in relation to the second part of this investigation."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. A copy of the Court of Appeal judgement in this case is available here.
  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 four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct 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 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 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.