We have decided that the prosecution of three men for the killing of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987 cannot continue. Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London, said:
“Daniel Morgan was brutally killed 24 years ago. When we authorised charges against five men in April 2008 in relation to his death, we knew this would be a challenging prosecution because of both the passage of time and the amount of material, more than 750,000 pages, which needed to be considered for disclosure to the defence. Material that could assist the defence or undermine the prosecution must be disclosed.
“We were, until yesterday, satisfied that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. However, we must continuously review prosecutions to ensure that it is both fair and appropriate that they continue. We no longer believe this prosecution should continue.
“In December 2009, the police revealed a large amount of material to us that had not been considered for disclosure before. There was then considerable legal argument on whether it was possible for the case to proceed. Officers assured the court that there was no further unconsidered material. The judge was considering this matter when, on Friday 4 March 2011, the police revealed further material that had not been previously considered.
“We have decided that a prosecution cannot continue in these circumstances. We cannot be confident that the defence necessarily have all of the material that they are entitled to. This point would be raised by the defence during any trial, so we are no longer satisfied that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.
“This decision has been taken by the CPS with the advice of senior counsel. Daniel Morgan’s family was also consulted before this decision was taken. This has been a long and difficult ordeal for the family, and we have offered them our heartfelt sympathies.”
• The CPS authorised charges against five men in April 2008 – a joint charge of murder against William (Jonathan) Rees, Glen Vian, Gary Vian and James Cook and a charge of perverting the course of justice against Sidney Fillery. However, the cases against Cook and Fillery had already been discontinued at an earlier stage in the proceedings.
• Three prosecution witnesses were subject to agreements under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005.
• The case against Sidney Fillery relied entirely upon the evidence of a SOCPA witness that was ruled inadmissible by the court in February 2010. We then offered no evidence against him for perverting the course of justice.
• The case against James Cook relied upon the evidence of three witnesses, including the evidence of the SOCPA witness that the court had ruled inadmissible. We carefully considered whether it was possible to continue with the evidence of the other two witnesses, including another SOCPA witness, but decided it was not possible in November 2010.
• It emerged in December 2010 that material that could have assisted the defence concerning the prosecution’s remaining SOCPA witnesses and should have been disclosed by the police had been lost. Although we could no longer use this witness’s evidence against the remaining three defendants, we were satisfied the prosecution could continue.