The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust in Lewisham have reacted positively to
the speculation that the Home Secretary is considering a request for a new MacPherson style inquiry into his murder. They said they were ‘heartened’ and it would ‘provide a clear signal that the Government is […] genuinely interested in racial justice.’
This follows a report in the Guardian newspaper that a confidential anti-corruption report compiled by the Metropolitan Police was not disclosed to the panel of the 1998 inquiry. And it is also reported that this means the inquiry into the force’s investigation of Stephen Lawerence’s murder was potentially hindered.
The enquiry before Lord Justice MacPherson, concluded that there was ”nothing in the evidence or in the many personal and intelligence files which we have perused’ to suggest that the former senior officer had been ‘involved in collusion, or corruptly involved in efforts to hold back this prosecution. By 4 May 1993 he was off the scene.’ (31.19 Official Documents from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry) He was involved in the initial probe into the 1993 murder in Eltham.
The inquiry report excluded corruption as a factor to be considered in their conclusions:
‘The problems in seeking to establish that there was collusion or corruption by inference are obvious. It is right that we should say at once that no collusion or corruption is proved to have infected the investigation of Stephen Lawrence’s murder. It would be wrong and unfair to conclude otherwise. It seems to us sensible to record this conclusion at once, so that the text of this Report can be read with this in mind.’ (8.18 of the Official Inquiry Report)
The family of Stephen Lawrence have urged the Home Secretary to order a second inquiry, with Doreen Lawrence telling the Guardian “I cannot see how Theresa May can now refuse. Not only must a new public inquiry look at whether corruption existed in the police investigation but why it was that such critical information was kept from us – Stephen’s family.”
Theresa May has reportedly asked for the new allegations to be thoroughly investigated to avoid undermining confidence in the police, and she is understood to have written to Mrs Lawrence’s lawyers on Friday saying she would consider the findings of the Met’s review.
Paul Anderson-Walsh, managing director of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, released a statement to East London Lines stating:
“Commissioning a root and branch inquiry into these very serious allegations would provide a clear signal that the Government is in fact genuinely interested in racial justice and help to ensure that The Metropolitan Police Force, is a genuinely disinterested body in whom we can place our trust.”
Additional reporting by Delores William and Simon Newton.