Lost Boxes of Evidence 'Led to Collapse of Morgan Inquiry' 'COMBINATION OF FACTORS' BLAMED IN POLICE REPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM MORGAN ; SIMON GASKELL

A MULTI-MILLION-POUND prosecution after the murder of private detective Daniel Morgan collapsed because police lost four crates of evidence, a review has found.

The loss of the boxes was described as the "final undoing" in a report criticising the "unreliability of critical witnesses".

Police and prosecutors were also given new guidance for using supergrasses as the Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard met members of Mr Morgan's family.

A total of 17 points of "good practice" were published as the joint report by the CPS and police highlighted failures surrounding the use of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005 (Socpa).

Scotland Yard previously admitted the first inquiry into the Welsh detective's 1987 death was hampered by police corruption.

But the report published yesterday found last year's case collapse at the Old Bailey was "as a result of the disclosure difficulties".

The costs of five police inquiries and an inquest, as well as three years of legal hearings, are unofficially estimated at pounds 30m.

The report presented to relatives of Mr Morgan found: "This was a truly exceptional case in terms of a combination of factors, namely its age; the size and the number of linked operations; the enormous volume of material generated, particularly unused, and the fact that all three of the Socpa witnesses were undermined, post-charge, by factors that adversely affected their credibility.

Daniel In addition there was a lack of scientific evidence."

The report detailed how four boxes of evidence could not be traced when the defence sought access to particular documents, just a month before the case collapsed.

The report said: "The police team were unable, in respect of four of the boxes, to locate them. These latest developments proved to be the final undoing and the cumulative weight against the Crown's position became untenable."

The three defendants, Mr Morgan's former business partner Jonathan Rees and his brothers-in-law Garry Vian and Glenn Vian, were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Two other defendants - James Cook, accused of murder, and former detective sergeant Sid Fillery, charged with perverting justice - were discharged after supergrass witnesses were discredited. …