On Friday 3rd July, Nazir Afzal’s lawyers, Hodge Jones & Allen, wrote three letters – to the Chief Constable of Durham police, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions / the Crown Prosecution Service.
In these letters Mr Afzal is asking police services and prosecution authorities:
to carry out further investigation and provide him with information. That information will enable him, the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) and the public to understand whether the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser, Dominic Cummings, should be charged and prosecuted for breach of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”) and/or related offences.
The motivation for these letters has been expressed as follows:
You will be well aware that there is a continuing pressing public imperative to ensure strict compliance by the public with the Regulations, which makes this matter urgent. A number of public authorities, including the police, have indicated that the apparent breaches of the Regulations by Mr Cummings have undermined the importance of compliance, and made the task of police enforcement with the public more difficult across the country.
To Durham Police the letter has expressed these concerns:
We understand that you have undertaken a short, narrow investigation into three ….matters ….and given your views on whether they constituted a breach of the Regulations. However, it appears that not all of the relevant evidence relating to those matters has been gathered. Further, a number of other alleged breaches of the Regulations which occurred in Durham do not appear to have been investigated at all.
To the Metropolitan Police the letter has invited them to engage in a thorough investigation of their own, saying this:
We are writing to you as a relevant police service given that the apparent wrongdoing included actions in London, including Mr Cummings leaving his home without reasonable excuse on 27 March 2020….
There has been serious and widespread public concern about Mr Cummings’ apparently unlawful conduct. It places a clear obligation on police services to gather relevant information so that it can be assessed by prosecuting authorities. Mr Afzal has made it clear in public statements that his motivation in seeking this information is to ensure that appropriate legal processes are pursued. He aims to ensure that the CPS has all the information it needs to make a proper assessment of Mr Cummings’ apparent wrongdoing with a view to prosecution. We presume that, consistent with your obligations as a police service, you support that approach.
To the DPP the letter has encouraged the CPS to play a proactive role in considering relevant evidence:
There has been serious and widespread public concern about Mr Cummings’ apparently unlawful conduct. It places a clear obligation on police services to gather appropriate information so that it can be assessed by prosecuting authorities. He has instructed us to help ensure that the CPS has all the information it needs to make a proper assessment of Mr Cummings’ apparent wrongdoing with a view to prosecution and that the CPS does so as soon as is practicable.
….we emphasise on behalf of Mr Afzal that it would be misconceived for the police or the CPS to approach Mr Cummings’ conduct as if it were insufficiently serious to warrant a prosecution at this stage. Similarly, it would be misconceived to believe that the short, narrow and limited investigation by Durham Police that did not consider the lawfulness of Mr Cummings leaving London, or other alleged wrongdoing, has properly addressed his apparently unlawful conduct. Our client believes that the seriousness of Mr Cummings’ wrongdoing is an assessment for prosecutors to make, once they have been given the relevant evidence by police and other investigators.
We are aware that the CPS may already have played a role in any investigation and carried out some consideration of this case and Mr Cummings’s apparent wrongdoing.
Each letter has been accompanied by a 9 page ‘annex’ setting out the factual background so far as it is known, appears relevant and is in the public domain; some of the relevant legal framework; the government’s ‘stay at home’ guidance at the relevant time; and what appears to have been done (and not done) by these authorities.
Each concludes with a detailed list of ‘further information required’. Each letter invites a substantive response in 14 days.
Upon receipt of those responses, Mr Afzal and his legal team will assess what next steps might be taken.
Nazir Afzal says:
I am concerned that the police and prosecutors have not received all relevant information and that their decision making will be incomplete as a result. I am troubled that previous correspondence from people including MPs has gone unanswered. Public confidence is damaged as a consequence. We have already had new information from reliable sources that reflect poorly on everybody who has considered the allegations thus far, including the likelihood that there are other relevant events. I do not believe in trial by media so I do not intend to give any more detail at this stage. However, I encourage anybody with more information to contact my legal team. As I have always said, my motivation is simply to get to the truth on behalf of all those who have made sacrifices to keep their fellow citizens safe.
Mike Schwarz, Mr Afzal’s solicitor, says:
Mr Afzal was a very senior prosecutor. It is his simple wish and expectation that current senior police investigators and prosecutors are reminded of their responsibilities and carry out their duties in Mr Cummings’ case. By failing to do so they would perpetuate the public’s perception that there is one rule for those in positions of power and another for ordinary citizens. Further, it would damage confidence in the criminal justice system, reduce compliance with measures to tackle Covid 19, and put more lives at risk.
Mike Schwarz | Partner | Hodge Jones & Allen
For updates on the citizens’ bid to prosecute Dominic Cummings or to donate via Crowdjustice, please click here.
Anyone with information relating to this case should contact Mr Afzal’s legal team here firstname.lastname@example.org
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