IPCC issues findings from investigation into conduct of West Midlands Police officers related to triple murder trial
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is today issuing its findings from an investigation into the conduct of two West Midlands Police officers related to the triple murder trial arising from rioting in Birmingham in August 2011.
On 10 August 2011 three men, Haroon Jahan (aged 21), Shazad Ali (aged 30), and Abdul Musavir (aged 31) were struck by a car and killed in Winson Green. Eight men were subsequently charged with their murder and a trial commenced on 19 April 2012 at Birmingham Crown Court.
Evidence was heard during the trial suggesting that certain witnesses may have been promised immunity from prosecution by the police in return for them giving evidence against the defendants. The trial judge, Mr Justice Flaux, temporarily halted the trial and questioned police officers and others to establish the facts around the non-disclosure of this information. He raised concerns about the evidence given to him in Court by a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Anthony Tagg, the senior investigating officer in the murder case.
On 11 August 2011 during a public meeting, Detective Inspector (DI) Khalid Kiyani who was the Family Liaison Co-ordinator for the murder investigation, offered eye witnesses immunity from prosecution for public order offences if they provided witness statements. DI Kiyani alleged DCI Tagg had authorised this promise of immunity, which DCI Tagg denied.
The IPCC investigation found no case to answer for misconduct against DCI Tagg. Howerver DI Kiyani, who retired in October 2012 having served 30 years in the police service, would have had a case to answer for gross misconduct under police disciplinary procedures. The record keeping of both DI Kiyani and DCI Tagg was found to be deficient. The IPCC investigation concluded in early 2013 when a file of evidence was sent to the CPS, and in September the CPS concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that either police officer had knowingly made a false statement and as a result committed the offence of perjury.
Following on from the disclosure of these issues the judge dismissed the application for a stay for abuse of process and permitted the trial to continue. The eight men were found not guilty of the murders by the jury on 19 July 2012.
IPCC deputy chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, said: "These three young men were tragically killed during a time of extraordinary rioting across many of our cities. There can be no doubt that community tensions were extremely high at the time and there was significant pressure on police. Everyone will remember the poignancy and courage of the bereaved families involved in calling for calm so soon after their tragic loss.
"Detective Inspector Kiyani was attempting to encourage individuals within the local community to come forward and provide details to progress the triple murder investigation. However, as an experienced senior officer, his offering of immunity to a group of unknown individuals without due consideration to potential offences or appropriate authorisation was a reckless act.
"While our investigation found that Detective Chief Inspector Tagg should have been more forcible and clear in advising prosecution Counsel of the immunity issue, he did not intend to deceive in his evidence provided at Crown Court. We found no evidence to corroborate the assertion that DCI Tagg knew of or sanctioned the offer of immunity prior to it being given at a public meeting by DI Kiyani. DCI Tagg may have told Counsel about the immunity issue, but on the basis he should have done so with greater clarity and conviction the IPCC recommended management intervention to remind him of his responsibilities as a senior investigating officer.
"The murder investigation was a complex, high profile one and it was vital that it was carried out in a way that could command the confidence of all communities in Birmingham. While we cannot say what impact this issue had on the trial or the verdict, the bereaved families publicly placed their faith in the criminal justice system but they understandably feel that they have been failed by the system they trusted.”
The IPCC’s investigation report is available on the IPCC website
For media enquiries please contact the IPCC press office on 0207-166-3239 or 3932 or 3260.
The appropriate authority can be:
- the chief officer of the police force
- the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for the police force you complained about
- the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service)
- the Common Council for the City of London (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the City of London police).