CPS drop Charges against Daniel Morgan Murder Detective

One of the most shocking aspects of the phone hacking scandal was the way that News International, through its Management and Standards Committee, shopped over a hundred confidential sources and journalists to the Met Police in an attempt to avoid corporate charges in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

While very few journalists have been convicted under the Misconduct in Public Office law, at least 27 public officials have received sentences for receiving money for stories. 

But much more shocking even than this is the way News International used selective disclosure to pursue vendettas and silence possible witnesses. In the former category I would suggest the outing of Vicky Pryce’s allegations against her ex husband Chris Huhne would count as revenge for his position on phone hacking.

But most disturbing of all was their handing over of correspondence between former Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook and the Sun’s crime correspondent Mike Sullivan towards the end of 2011. 

DCS Dave Cook was, in the words of Alastair Morgan who has conducted a tireless 28 year campaign to get justice for his brother “the only policeman we ever trusted.”

While investigating the Daniel Morgan Murder, DCS Cook was encouraged by his boss, Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Yates, to talk to the press. Given the grave public interest concerns about police corruption around the Daniel Morgan murder, transparency was paramount. As the CPS note there was never at any time any suggestion Cook was receiving any payment.

Just as concerning is the timing of the arrest of Cook: just before he was due to become a core participant at the Leveson Inquiry.  Not only was Cook and his wife hacked, their bank details inspected, they were also followed for three days by News of the World during the fourth murder investigation

My personal opinion is that Cook’s arrest was timed to silence him. The former senior police officer could have made revelations about the relationship between News of the World and its favourite detective agency, Southern Investigations, that would have made phone hacking pale in comparison.

The MSC email dump therefore suited both the Metropolitan Police, who were still embarrassed about the blatant police corruption around Daniel’s Murder, and News International who had a lucrative deal with the murder suspects over two decades.

As it was, the Leveson evidence of Cook’s then partner Jacqui Hames, about the surveillance place on her and her family during the fourth murder investigation, was shocking enough. 

But I believe that evidence was also clearly derailed too. Within minutes of Hames’ appearance on the Leveson witness stand the Evening Standard published sensational details about a police horse, Raisa, which Brooks had on loan from the Metropolitan Police at her Oxfordshire Home, which was allegedly ridden by the prime minster David Cameron.  The combination of personalities and animals dominated the news for the next few days. 

(Coincidentally, the journalist who published this scoop would go on the following year to cover the ‘Blue Chip Hacking’ allegations with Brooks referred to several times during her hacking trial defence. He is now an employee of News UK.)

DCS Dave Cook was, in the words of Alastair Morgan who has conducted a tireless 28 year campaign to get justice for his brother “the only policeman we ever trusted.”

That Cook should have been gagged for four years on such a slender charge, on information disclosed for such obviously self interested reasons by a company under criminal investigation, is a further abomination in a long list of injustices around Britain’s most investigated murder.