Former chief prosecutor brands Met decision to limit Sue Gray report 'absolute nonsense' 3 months ago

Former chief prosecutor brands Met decision to limit Sue Gray report 'absolute nonsense'

The Met wants Sue Gray to publish 'minimal reference' to events

The Met Police's decision to limit the scope of Sue Gray's eagerly-awaited report into Downing Street parties has been branded "absolute nonsense" by a former chief prosecutor.

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The forces' directive to publish “minimal reference” to events currently being investigated means some of the more controversial elements of the report, which might have made the Prime Minister's future untenable, will be redacted before publication.

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In a statement, the Met said it wanted to "avoid any prejudice to our investigation" - but leading lawyers aren't convinced this is a certifiable excuse.

Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal described the decision as "absolute nonsense", arguing a "purely factual report by Sue Gray cannot possibly prejudice a police investigation".

Human rights Barrister Adam Wagner argued a similar point, pointing out a factual civil service report couldn't prejudice a police investigation.

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In criminal cases, the media are given reporting restrictions to prevent the potential of influencing a jury during a trial, he noted, and there is "no jury, nor trial, that can be prejudiced in this case".

Former Editor of the Financial Times Lionel Barber described the Met's position as "unfathomable".

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In December, the Met refused to investigate alleged parties held at Downing Street because its policy was not to undertake retrospective investigations of lockdown breaches.

Forced to u-turn on their original pledge, the Met is now refusing publication of a report that could have "laid bare" covid rule-breaking "under the noses of the copper in Downing Street", Barber wrote on Twitter.

Barber asks "Am I missing something?".

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The Sunday Times' Whitehall editor, Gabriel Pogrund, summed up why the Met's decision had potentially deflated the impact of Gray's report.

On Friday morning, Chris Philp, the digital minister, said that Gray’s report still had not been received by Number 10.

Speaking on Sky News, he said: “I spoke to someone in Downing Street about half an hour ago and they certainly didn’t indicate it had been received - I don’t know a lot more than you do but I’ve certainly got no information as of right now that it’s been received.”

It's unclear when Gray's report, redacted or not, will be published.

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