Since I wrote about the Cardiff Three scandal yet more changes have taken place twisting the saga into a new beast. Towards the end of January 2012 the missing, presumed destroyed files at the heart of the CPS submission of no evidence were miraculously found. Once more allegations of police incompetence were shouted from the stalls.
An English police force is currently investigating both criminal allegations into the way South Wales Police handled the recent trial and specific police procedural complaints.
Calls for independent inquiry
The IPCC is investigating the errors that caused the trial to collapse. Lord Carlile QC, who represented Leanne Vilday, has called for a public inquiry into the collapse of the corruption case. He said: ‘I believe very strongly that the only way of laying this to rest in a constructive and positive way is by having a full inquiry, an uninhibited inquiry, into all aspects.’
Matthew Gold, who represented Stephen Miller, said in January: ‘There should be an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act carried out by a judge… . Both the CPS and the IPCC, who have been involved in the prosecution throughout, are far too close to carry out an independent inquiry.’
A retrial of the former officers is highly unlikely as, according to Winston Roddick QC, the evidence in the trial favored the defendants, meaning that new and compelling evidence would need to be produced once the IPCC investigation had finished, enabling the slightest possibility of a retrial. Finding, collating and generally keeping hold of prosecution evidence seems to have proved an elusive enterprise thus far. Hopes then are not high.
This was not the only recent development nor – I suspect – will it be the last. On 28th February 2012, BBC1 Wales’ Week in Week Out programme aired footage of both Angela Psaila and Stephen Miller – the first interview with Miller in years and Psaila’s first public interview on the matter. The pair wanted to separately publicly state their declarations to pursue legal action in light of the recent collapsed criminal trial.
Angela Psaila stated that she, alongside Mark Grommek and Leanne Vilday (who now has a new identity), intends to appeal against their convictions for perjury. Miller announced his desire to pursue a civil claim for damages, saying that had the trial of the officers involved in the Lynette White murder investigation taken place he would not be pursuing this action irrespective of verdict, that it was simply the next best thing in his opinion to achieve some sense of justice.
South Wales Police still face a plethora of investigations and litigation in this case 23 years on, on one side by their own ex officers for wrongful arrest and on the other by Miller for damages incurred as a result of his wrongful conviction – more legal action anticipated still, should Vilday et al be successful in pursuing the acquittals they desire. Estimates now raise the total cost to the tax-payer easily breaching the £100m mark, and the story is sadly by no means over.
An independent public inquiry is a must in this quagmire of a case. Enough public money has been wasted on every single investigation and court case that has ultimately produced nothing but more litigation. The time has come to untangle the web and reveal the truth to all sides, whether or not it is particularly flattering.
Let us not forget the circumstances that brought us here – the brutal murder of a young woman in 1988 and the effect that her death and the constant media spotlight has had on her family.
Charlie Fox is trainee police station legal representative, LPC student and paralegal. On Twitter as @TooManyBlueys. http://themodstolemyboyfriend.wordpress.com.