19th May 2021
This is not a conspiracy theory blog.
Conspiracies do, of course, exist – often to cover up cock-ups, for that is usually the only time when any given group of people have the focus and motivation to act in concert.
But a conspiracy is rarely the first notion that comes to my mind to explain any odd state of affairs.
And so, in respect of the 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan, I do not know why he was killed and who killed him.
This is just not safe legal-libel speak: I genuinely have no idea, and I offer no theory.
But what is odd about this murder was the aftermath: a remarkable succession of failed investigations and prosecutions.
Here, again, there may be explanations short of a conspiracy.
Court cases and so on fail all the time, and for various reasons.
And even if those reasons point to systemic failures, often those system failures are not conspiracies but just, well, system failures.
The succession of failed investigations and prosecutions in the case of Daniel Morgan also indicate that there may be concerted wrongful conduct.
And nobody who knows anything about the metropolitan police and their relationship with the tabloid media at the relevant time would be surprised if there had been undue pressure and corruption.
Still: we do not know for certain.
And this is why an independent panel inquiry was set up in 2013 to, as far as possible, get to the bottom of what happened and what, if anything, went wrong.
(My 2012 piece calling for a formal inquiry is here.)
The panel spent eight years putting together a detailed report.
The eight year period indicates the complexity and perhaps the seriousness of the matters being investigated.
And this long-awaited report was about to be published…
…when in an extraordinary intervention Priti Patel, the home secretary, has delayed its publication.
The news is that the long-awaited report into the death of Daniel Morgan and what happened next has been delayed— davidallengreen (@davidallengreen) May 19, 2021
Click and read thishttps://t.co/c8WoFmLSPe
We even have the remarkable sight of Patel relying on the Human Rights Act as part of the excuse for the delay.
As the panel has pointed out – in an impressively robust statement (which you should read) – there is no good reason for this intervention.
None of the supposed reasons add up, and it appears to me that the home secretary’s stated reasons are mere pretexts.
This is an extraordinary intervention by a politician in an independent inquiry.
And it also may be counter-productive – as it is drawing attention to a report that – even if it were critical – may have had little press or public attention.
After all – as I aver above – few would be surprised that bad things were happening at the time with the police and the media.
So, even if there is something in there which Patel, for political reasons, did not want in the public domain, her delay may be bringing attention to a thing others may have preferred were left not emphasised.
Some commenters believe that the report will be an exposure of the corrupt relationships between the media and the police of the time.
I have no idea.
But many will be even more interested in the report now after Patel’s extraordinary and perhaps clumsy intervention.
And we should hope that the report when published finally brings some justice for the family of Daniel Morgan who have campaigned tirelessly since his death for the truth to be revealed.
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