All the public statements made by the Crown Prosecution Service about this case have been made based on the information that was available at the time and as set out in the chronology below. The CPS has been in close contact with the IPCC to share information and material with them and to make them aware of our internal procedures.
There have been a number of reviews of different aspects of this complex case. Following the collapse of the January case, Clare Montgomery QC was asked to advise on the safety of the convictions of the 20 activists in an earlier case, and gave advice only on that specific and narrow point. She was not asked to consider the issues, which the IPCC are examining. At the same time a CPS review into the disclosure of material by the prosecution was conducted and completed in March 2011. It was only after this review was completed that Deputy Chief Constable Eyre’s letter reached the CPS, which contained allegations about a failure to disclose material.
This warranted a full and formal inquiry which Chris Enzor, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North East, has been commissioned to conduct. The outcome of this inquiry will have no bearing on Ms Montgomery’s advice.
It would be wrong to anticipate the outcome of Mr Enzor’s formal inquiry. The original police investigation took at least two years and generated thousands of pages of evidence. Mr Enzor has no previous knowledge of this case and his thorough review of the evidence is, therefore, likely to take some time. The CPS will share the findings of this inquiry with the IPCC and Nottinghamshire Police, and will also make a public statement, in line with our policy to be accountable to the public and transparent in our work.
Before that time, however, no conclusions should be drawn about any individuals involved in this matter. We continue to work with both the police and the IPCC to resolve the outstanding issues in this case. Our view is clear: comments and allegations made before the formal processes outlined above are complete are inappropriate and unhelpful.
7 January 2011 – Statement issued to the media explaining the decision to discontinue the January case.
Previously unavailable information that significantly undermined the prosecution’s case came to light on Wednesday, 5 January 2011. In light of this information, the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed the case and decided there was no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. There will be a hearing on Monday offer no evidence, thereby discontinuing the case.”
10 January 2011 – CPS offers no evidence against six activists at Nottingham Crown Court over a protest at Ratcliff-on- Soar Power station.
21 March 2011 - Internal review into the case is completed by CPS.
23 March 2011 – CPS receives a letter (dated 17 March) from DCC Eyre, which claims that CPS had earlier sight of material in question.
24 March 2011 – Addendum is added to the CPS internal review recommending fuller inquiry in light of DCC Eyre’s claims.
April 2011 – Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Chris Enzor is asked to conduct a formal internal inquiry into the case, including looking at the actions of those involved. Mr Enzor has had no previous knowledge of or involvement in this case and his review of the extensive materials is expected to take some time.
18 April 2011 – CPS writes to defence solicitors and issues public statement inviting 20 defendants to appeal their convictions. This is in light of advice sought from Clare Montgomery QC on the specific point of the safety of those earlier convictions.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has written to the legal representatives of 20 protestors convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass after a protest at Ratcliffe on Soar power station, inviting them to appeal the convictions. On 28 January 2011, Mr Starmer asked Clare Montgomery QC to review the case of those protestors convicted in December last year. Ms Montgomery has now completed her review and given her conclusions to the DPP. Mr Starmer said: "I instructed Ms Montgomery to review the safety of the convictions of the individuals convicted at Nottingham Crown Court on 14 December 2010 in light of non-disclosure of material relating to the activities of an undercover police officer. Ms. Montgomery has now completed her review and, having carefully considered her conclusions, I believe that the safety of the convictions should be considered by the Court of Appeal as soon as possible. The prosecution cannot lodge an appeal to the Court of Appeal save in very limited circumstances, which are not met here, and in my letter I have invited the defence to lodge an appeal and to include the issue of non-disclosure of material relating to the activities of an undercover police officer in any grounds of appeal. I have also indicated that the CPS will assist in any steps necessary to expedite the appeal. The safety of the convictions is a matter that can only be dealt with by the Court of Appeal. I am satisfied that, despite the ongoing reviews into what happened in this case, this is the only proper course of action. It would be wrong if, having reached this conclusion, I waited until the reviews were completed before contacting the defence about a possible appeal. As reviews into the handling of this case have yet to report, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on any issues involving the undercover officer."
20 April 2011 – The CPS internal review and its addendum (from March 2011) are sent to the IPCC.
23 May 2011 – The CPS responds to questions from the Guardian about disclosure of material to IPCC.
“The CPS has shared preliminary information with the IPCC from its own initial inquiry and is in discussion with the IPCC about sharing more information as the more detailed formal inquiry continues.”
27 May 2011 – Statements gathered during the CPS internal review sent to IPCC.
· Nottinghamshire Police have asked for the legal advice provided by Miss Montgomery QC and we will be responding shortly.
· The CPS has not been provided with a copy of the East Midland Regional Review report, but has been made aware of allegations in the letter received from DCC Eyre on March 23 2011. Mr Enzor has been granted access to the report.
· The formal internal inquiry, conducted by Mr Enzor, continues.