The family of Daniel Morgan has accused the home secretary of interfering in the independence of the special panel set up to investigate the murder of the private detective in 1987, who was found dead in a south London car park with an axe embedded in his head. The panel inquiry was set up by Theresa May in 2013 but has been beset by delays.
NEW: Extraordinary statement from Daniel Morgan Independent Panel [set up 8 yrs ago to investigate, inter alia, police conduct re one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved murders] – accuses Home Office of ‘unnecessary’ intervention effectively in breach of Panel’s independence pic.twitter.com/HL0vUJeDxE
— Andy Davies (@adavies4) May 18, 2021
The latest delay surfaced last night when the panel, which is chaired by Lady Nuala O’Loan, revealed that it had been advised that the Home Secretary had delayed the timetable for putting its report before Parliament on Monday as scheduled and revealed that Priti Patel was seeking to further delay the process by reviewing the report. Morgan’s brother Alastair, long justice campaign, told the Guardian that the development was ‘shameful, but typical’.
According to a statement from the panel, it was told that ‘the publication date will not be agreed until the Home Secretary and Home Office officials and lawyers have reviewed the contents of the panel’s report’. The review was being sought because of ‘compliance with the department’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and for reasons of national security’. The panel made clear that such a review had never been raised.
There have been a series of failed police investigations into the killing and the Leveson Inquiry was going to investigate the case exploring police-press relations, however that was cancelled by the then Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock in 2018. You can read an interview with Alastair Morgan, Daniel’s brother on the Justice Gap here.
Daniel Morgan’s family called the Home Office conditions ‘unwarranted and very belated interference’ which amounted to ‘a kick in the teeth for us’. ‘We have been living through the torture of waiting to see the panel’s report over the last several years months and weeks. We have been waiting for the report so that we might understand for ourselves the sorry saga of police corruption and repeated failures to confront that corruption behind the failed investigations over the decades since the murder in 1987.’
The statement continues: ‘We know from our bitter experience that the Home Office over those decades was complicit in that sorry saga, at least until 2013 when the then Home Secretary established the panel to help bring the truth to light. In that context, the current home secretaries actions serve only to betray and undermine the very purpose of the panel.’
The family calls the Home Secretary’s intervention ‘not only unnecessary and inconsistent with the panel’s independence’ but ‘an outrage which betrays her ignorance – and the ignorance of those advising her’. ‘It also reveals a disturbing disregard to the public interest in safeguarding the independence of the panel and its report,’ they add.