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Erkin Guney

Untouchables: Secret Justice

This is an extract from Chapter

22 of Untouchables.

It refers to

Erkin Guney's wrongful

imprisonment in 1996.

The extract is reproduced with permission of the authors, Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn

Chapter 22 - Secret Justice

When summarised, the way Egg Guney was treated is shocking. Since his arrest in September 1995 anti-corruption squad detectives had made repeated visits to prison to pump Egg for information, while all along allowing him to believe they were investigating his complaint.

First the Ghost Squad and then the CIB intelligence cell avoided PCA [Police Complaints Authority] supervision and treated him as an intelligence source while they managed and manipulated the public linage of the Yard’s corruption problem.

Egg had given himself an insurance policy because he simply didn’t trust the integrity of the anti-corruption crusade to get him out of prison. In June 1998, he wrote to the Criminal Cases Review Commission [CCRC], a body set up to assume responsibilities that once rested with the Home Office for investigating “alleged and suspected miscarriages of justice” in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The CCRC has powers to secure materials from the police and CPS [Crown Prosecution Service].

The following year he also changed solicitors to Birnberg & Pierce, the miscarriage of justice specialists. Solicitor Tim Greene took over his case and supplied the CCRC with the limited information his client had from the police.

A lot had happened by mid-2001, but still no word from the CCRC or from Jarratt’s investigation of Egg’s complaint. Keith Green had tried and acquitted and the Karagozlu crime syndicate was sentencing for the corruption and VAT fraud on a mobile company. “Inevitably much is hidden from us,” solicitor Tim Greene wrote to the CCRC in May that year. He had also complained to the Yard about Jarratt’s investigation. It was passed to CIB management, which appointed yet another detective to investigate themselves.

The whole thing was absurd. This was now the third investigation since 1995, and again it wasn’t being referred to the PCA. Furthermore, in March 2002, Jarratt was removed from his command pending an internal investigation into allegations of bullying, expenses fraud and assault brought by fellow officers. These remarkable events drove Tim Greene to write again to the CCRC asking what exactly was going on and what, if anything, they could disclose from their investigation, now in its fourth year.

On 18 July the CCRC wrote back, 11 days after Martin Morgan was jailed for his part in the kidnap plot. Egg’s case, said the CCRC, would be referred back to the Court of Appeal with a recommendation that the conviction was unsafe. By now he had served half his sentence and was almost eligible for parole. Although the CCRC had sent full reasons to the Appeal Court and CPS in a confidential annexe, Egg was told he could know almost nothing of how the decision was reached because these considerations were “sensitive”. The Yard and CPS had invoked a law to keep secret all that it and NCIS [National Criminal Intelligence Service] had shown the CCRC.

The key phrase in the explanatory letter sent to Egg’s lawyer was this: “The Commission had become aware of information which was available to neither the defence nor the prosecution at the time of Mr Guney’s trial and appeal. That information amounts to evidence which substantially discredits the informant’s handler … the information concerned might have caused the trial judge to come to a significantly different conclusion at [the PII] hearing.” (1)

Incredibly the CPS was still opposing the recommendation to quash the conviction. Tim Greene’s fear of a cover-up in the making did not abate when the solicitor learned they had asked the Untouchables to make further inquiries into the case.

This tricky assignment from the CPS was given to detective inspector Adrian Harper. The Untouchable was one of Jarratt’s boys who’d been brought onto the anti-corruption squad in 1998 with other members of the David Norris murder inquiry team. Harper had also debriefed Kevin Garner on Operation Ethiopia and was the number two on the recently concluded Martin Morgan investigation. He had also personally visited Egg in prison with Customs as part of the Karagozlu corruption inquiry. It could not therefore be said of Harper that he had little grasp of the background to Egg’s case.

After four months the CPS made a remarkable volte-face. They wrote to Egg’s lawyer in December 2002, saying “new sensitive material” unearthed by Harper had led them to conclude that “no sensible argument could be mounted to maintain the safety of [the] conviction”. They would now not be opposing the appeal. It was a further three months before the Appeal Court was given that new material and under very strict security conditions. The Untouchables and the CPS also notified the court of their intention to make a PII (1) application to keep it all from Egg and the public.

On 15 May, Harper and detective constable Bill Maclean, both from the Intelligence Development Group, a re-branding of the old CIB intelligence cell, went into secret session with three Appeal Court judges.

Lord Justice Kennedy had previously indicated that “a fair amount” of what the Untouchables wanted kept secret was already in the public domain. This proved a false hope. Ten days later Egg returned, hoping to hear why his conviction was being quashed. It was a bleak day for open justice and democratic accountability of the police and the CPS.

The judgement indicated in the most guarded terms that “substantial doubt” had now been cast on the integrity of the police officers (in the plural) no longer serving, who compiled the intelligence report the day before Egg’s arrest. Had the material been available at the time of the trial back in May 1996 it would inevitably have been abandoned, it said. The judgement wasn’t read out. There was no apology. Egg emerged from Court 6 angry, confused and depressed. It was clear that had he not gone to the CCRC when he did, he would still be a convicted prisoner.

Why had CIB not disclosed the information that the CCRC and Court of Appeal found so persuasive? And why wasn’t the highly sensitive information Harper found, which led the CPS to change its mind, disclosed earlier? Outside in the corridor Harper wouldn’t be drawn on much, other than to confirm that the voices on the Ramadan Guney tapes were serving police officers.(2)  It was logical then that the Untouchables knew their names.

Media inquiries were steered away from the Flying Squad, Martin Morgan and Jimmy Karagozlu. Both the Yard and the CPS were happy to leave the impression the whole matter was to do with “unsubstantiated” allegations about Keith Green and not other corruption allegations they had sat on for over seven years.

This whole scandal is about disclosure, or to be precise, non disclosure, from the Untouchables to the CPS; from the CPS to Egg’s lawyers; and from the Courts to the public, who picked up the whole bill. The CPS is supposed to safeguard the interests of justice from those of the police. But in Egg’s case it completely failed. The failure is remarkable because throughout his seven years in prison, disclosure had become the key issue for the criminal justice system.

Scotland Yard is a leading opponent of disclosure and nowhere has this been more dominant than in its dealings with the CPS during the anti-corruption crusade. The CPS had to fight to get the Operation Jackpot report on Stoke Newington released to it in 1992. The following year the Ghost Squad simply excluded the CPS from overseeing its secret activities, thereby making the issue of disclosure redundant.  

Ironically, Egg’s appeal in 1996 led the CPS to set up something called “The Guney Group”. Senior CPS lawyers and anti-corruption squad bosses debated over the next five years what should be disclosed to the defence about police officers who in effect have been disbelieved or criticised during a trial. Yet all the while they sat on intelligence that clearly cast doubt on the safety of Egg’s conviction and quite possibly several other men and women wrongly imprisoned.

It was only when supergrass Terry McGuinness made allegations in May 1998 about the so called “first aid kits” that a role for the CPS in anti-corruption work was formalised. It followed a meeting in July that year between the deputy commissioner John Stevens, anti-corruption chiefs and the CPS, represented by Martin Polaine. He was already in charge of the recently created Visa Card team, which had just started advising the Untouchables on its covert operations.

Anti-corruption detectives began working with a new CPS Gold Card team to review the safety of all prosecutions by the Rigg Approach Flying Squad between 1988 and 1998. Superintendent Ian Russell represented the Yard in this endeavour. He had recently returned to the anti-corruption squad from Catford police station, where he served after being in charge of the Operation Jackpot debacle. The plan was that Russell and his men would delve into CIB’s intelligence cell, and see what information should be disclosed to the CPS.

Polaine explains: “Visa Card would [then] feed the information ... around [suspect] officers to Gold Card in so far as they needed to know things for disclosure purposes. We would agree with them the ambit of disclosure they could give to defence solicitors. [It was a] balancing exercise of ensuring that every potential appellant had all the information they needed for appeal purposes. But equally if there were matters that remained sensitive they weren’t made public.”

However, according to a senior CPS source, there were concerns from prosecutors about the way CIB3 [Complaints Investigation Bureau 3 - ie the Untouchables] and its even more secretive sister, CIBIC [Complaints Investigation Bureau Intelligence Cell {formerly the Ghost Squad}], were approaching disclosure matters. Each unit had its own disclosure officer who liaised with Visa. But the CIB3 disclosure officer was not privy to CIBIC information. “This was a recipe for disaster,” said the source. So the CPS insisted that there was one disclosure officer for both units. It also drafted a protocol which stated the anti-corruption squad must give Visa “at an early stage” information that allows it to address whether there is a conflict between an ongoing corruption operation and the rights of a defendant in a trial where targeted officers were giving evidence.

But Polaine was keen to stress that ultimately he and his CPS colleagues were entirely dependent on the Untouchables disclosing all that was relevant to any appeal. In other words they had to trust the integrity of the anti-corruption squad to put the interests of justice above its own and those of the Yard. The Guney case proves beyond doubt this trust was misplaced.

From the Guney Group came the formalisation of a secret blacklist of officers. It is a refinement of the so-called Townsend List. The blacklist is officially called the Service Confidence Policy and was formalised after a meeting of anti-corruption management on 28 June 2000. It is designed for those officers whose integrity is seriously doubted. These “concerns” are based on secret intelligence and information collated by the Untouchables, whether through phone-taps, surveillance, informants or public sources, like court cases.

For some, the trust of the commissioner is recoverable. For others it is an unofficial way of getting them to resign without embarrassing disciplinary hearings, court cases or employ-ment tribunals, where the public, through the media, can get a better measure of corruption in the Yard.

Those on the secret blacklist are placed on restricted duties and are not allowed near proactive operations, sensitive databases or informants and in some cases the witness box, because the police simply don’t regard them as witnesses of truth.

Every six months or so, the defective detective’s case is reviewed by a senior Met civilian who is head of Workforce Deployment.(3) He assesses all the sensitive material. Some officers are taken off. Others are kept on. The entire basis of what led an officer to lose the commissioner’s trust is rarely explained. Similarly, defence lawyers and members of the public are not allowed to know which of London’s finest are or have been subject to the blacklist.

DS Jim Gillan, we were told by his friends and colleagues, was put on the blacklist while he was serving on the Fraud Squad. In summer 2003, he retired from the police. His friends say he was in the was frustrated that his career in the force was stultified by the commissioner’s unexplained loss of trust in his integrity.

We asked him a series of questions about the Guney case. Was he one of the anonymous callers who’d offered to sabotage the prosecution for money? Was he the mysterious “Home Office official”? Had he and Morgan corruptly approached fellow detective Keith Green? Had he tried to help Morgan and Costello onto the Fraud Squad? What relationship did he have with Jimmy Karagozlu? And in what circumstances had he left the police? Jim Gillan did not confirm or deny the corruption allegations. He simply declined to comment. Martin Morgan told us from prison: “I’ve got nothing to say. But it didn’t happen”.

The Home Secretary David Blunkett has refused an inquiry into this case, ludicrously suggesting Egg Guney could always make a complaint against the Yard and the CPS. Shortly after receiving this response, the Yard launched a fourth internal investigation into itself led by detective inspector Shaun Keep, formerly of the intelligence cell. At least this time there was PCA supervision by Nicola Williams.

Although sceptical of the value of making yet another formal complaint, on 11 November 2003 Egg’s lawyers submitted a four-page letter to Keep and Williams in essence seeking an explanation for why “relevant information was withheld”. The letter asked: “Why [was] there no disclosure at the time of the first appeal of what would form the basis five years later of the successful second appeal?” This was a reference to the arrest and prosecution of Keith Green. It went on: “There have been two substantial enquiries into complaints made by Mr Guney. We find it hard to understand why neither investigation uncovered the information which the CCRC, without the benefit of a police investigation, was able to uncover.” The final paragraph was the most explosive: “There was an obvious failure to disclose information at the first reasonable opportunity and as a result Mr Guney served the whole of his sentence. We do not accept that no police officer is at fault for the fact that it took the CCRC to find out this information from police files and at no time until then had any police officer seen fit to inform Mr Guney that there was material that impacted upon the safety of his conviction.”

It is telling that the Yard only sought supervision from the PCA when the “watchdog” was withering on the vine and about to be replaced by the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission. There will be some continuity because Nicola Williams, a barrister, is now one of the twelve IPCC commissioners who guard its independence from the police. This however brings us to the heart of the paradox where the police are policing the police.

Nicola Williams’ supervision of the internal inquiry into the Guney case will have to consider Roy Clark’s role. But Clark is now the IPCC’s director of investigation. All of which would appear to mean he will either be advising on an investigation into himself, or alternatively, Clark’s former colleagues in the Met will be investigating him and other colleagues.


(1) PII stands for Public Interest Immunity.

(2) Ramadan Guney (1932-2006), Erkin’s father.

(3) Robert Dellegrotti.

This extract is reproduced with permission of the authors, Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn