Lawyers call for public inquiry into Ali Dizaei prosecution decision
The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) has called for a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the decision to prosecute the former Metropolitan Police Service (MPS/ Met Police) Borough Commander, Ali Dizaei.
The Call comes in the wake of Mr. Dizaei’s release by the Court of Appeal yesterday, which quashed his conviction for misconduct and attempting to pervert the course of justice, after ruling that his conviction in February last year was unsafe and unsound.
At the time of his conviction and sentencing, the SBL expressed concern that his sentence of 4 years’ imprisonment was manifestly excessive when compared to other corruption cases involving white officers.
SBL Co-Chair, Peter Herbert OBE commented:
‘We believe that this prosecution was in itself an abuse of process and has its origins in the desire to exclude Ali Dizaei from the MPS after he successfully sued the MPS for race discrimination in two separate cases. Evidence of the treatment that he had experienced within the Met Police also led to the damning conclusions set out in the Morris Inquiry, which was chaired by Sir Bill Morris and which found clear evidence of a wholly disproportionate investigation into Ali Dizaei about previous alleged misconduct. The desire to ‘get their man’ was such that the MPS indulged in illegal wiretaps and spent in the region of £2.5 million over a four year period.
There was in my view, a consistent pattern that Mr. Dizaei was treated differently to other senior white officers spanning some ten years and culminating in this, his second prosecution. The MPS has never tolerated dissent and outspokenness on race issues and despite all the supposed ‘lessons being learnt’ from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, I cannot help but believe that an internally sanctioned Met campaign was mounted in order to get rid of this officer because of his outspoken views.
Members of the Metropolitan Black Police Association (MetBPA) were also targeted when they sought to support and defend Mr. Dizaei. There is a strong suspicion that some in the MPS knew of the inherent dishonesty in the handling of this case and chose not to disclose or investigate it in the hope of securing a conviction.’
SBL does not propose to comment on the evidence itself but rather on the exercise of discretion by both the MPS and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to proceed in the manner in which they did.
Chuka Udemezue, SBL Co-Chair stated:
‘We do not anticipate either the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) or the CPS backing down as they must be aware that claims for malicious prosecution could inevitably follow. We expect that the legal establishment will prosecute this case again, not because of the strength of the evidence, but in the hope of avoiding any potential embarrassment that would flow from not proceeding at this juncture.’
The Court of Appeal’s ruling follows a hearing in March, when claims were made about the credibility of Waad al-Baghdadi, the key witness in the case against Dizaei, who was found to have tried to frame him when they fell out over money.
The SBL is now calling for a public inquiry, similar to the Morris Inquiry, so that the circumstances surrounding this latest treatment of Ali Dizaei are fully disclosed.
The Morris Inquiry
- The Morris Inquiry was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in 2004. The Inquiry team was headed by Sir William Morris, formerly General Secretary of the Transport and General Workersâ€™ Union (TGWU). He was joined by Sir Anthony Burden, formerly Chief Constable of South Wales and Anesta Weeks QC.
- The Inquiry examined the way the Police Service handles complaints, grievances, allegations against individuals and conflict within the workplace. The focus was the MPS as an organisation, which it found to be institutionally racist with officers from ethnic minorities far more likely to be subject to disciplinary action than white officers. The investigation concluded that the statistics “showed clear disproportionality” in the way that officers who are black or from ethnic minorities are treated in relation to the management of their conduct.