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Nazir Afzal OBE and legal team prepare evidence dossier for full investigation into lockdown misconduct case against Dominic Cummings

Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal OBE and his legal team are preparing a dossier of evidence and submissions to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), with the aim of bringing about a proper investigation and potential public prosecution into Dominic Cummings, following his alleged misconduct and breaches of COVID-19 regulations during lockdown.

This follows inadequate responses to three letters his lawyers wrote on 3rd July to the Chief Constable of Durham police, the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

In those letters Nazir Afzal’s lawyers asked for information, evidence, further investigations and consideration to be given to the public prosecution1.

In their letter, 3rd July, to Durham police, Nazir Afzal’s lawyers had expressed, among other things, the following concerns:

‘We are concerned that the short investigation, undertaken in a highly charged political environment, and in a rushed manner, did not ascertain or consider the totality of the evidence available in relation to the three matters [‘locating in Durham’, trip to Barnard Castle, second trip to Durham on or around 19th April]. We are also concerned that the press statement [Durham police made on 28th May] failed to make reference to Cummings’/Wakefield’s trip to the hospital on 2-3 April 2020, to their decision to leave self-isolation to go for a walk with their child in the second week of Cummings’ illness and/or their decision to relocate from Durham to London, with their child, on 13 April 2020. It is unclear if any investigation was ever conducted into those matters’.

Durham’s Chief Constable declined to provide any information, add to their original press statement or indicate that they would take any further action, other than to say that ‘We can confirm that Durham Constabulary will furnish the CPS with any information they should request directly, in the usual way’.

The MPS declined to provide any information or to indicate that they would take any action, relying, in part, on Durham’s earlier investigation. Their response included the following comment:

‘an assessment has been made of the information provided and there will be no police investigation at this time … where [the MPS] receives allegations of breaches…the [MPS] focusses on those …where police action can enable a change to behaviour that is posing a current public health risk’ and, referring to Durham said: ‘It would not be prudent for resources to be spent on the same or similar allegations’.

The CPS said that they would take no action unless invited to do so by the police: ‘…criminal investigations are the responsibility of bodies external to the Director [of Public Prosecutions], his responsibility being to initiate or discontinue criminal proceedings that are based on those criminal investigations, not to direct or require such investigations’. It goes on to say that ‘…it is the responsibility of the police and other investigative agencies to conduct inquiries into any alleged crime and not that of the director to direct them.’

Nazir Afzal responded by saying:

‘Contrary to my experience while in post, neither the police nor the CPS appear to have an interest in this important issue of deep public concern. It doesn’t fill me with much confidence that they choose to close ranks when the recent survey shows that public compliance with the Lockdown Regulations were significantly impacted by the actions of Cummings and the inadequacy of the Government & Police response. You have to ask ‘What do they have to hide and whose side are they on?’’

Mike Schwarz, Nazir Afzal’s solicitor at Hodge Jones & Allen said:

‘We appeal to any witness who can shed light on Mr Cummings’ activities, especially in March and April this year, to come forward. We are driven to do what others should be doing – compiling a dossier of evidence and making our own assessment as to whether a prosecution should follow and presenting it to the DPP. Mr Cummings’ actions and their consequences are exceptional and grave and ought to be considered independently, thoroughly and accountably.’

This comes following two developments on 30th July. Firstly, a study confirming that the Cummings trips damaged UK lockdown unity.

And secondly, the announcement that England has the ‘highest level of excess deaths.

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