A long overdue report on the 1987 murder of Daniel Morgan finds “significant” and “unlawful” interactions between the media and the police.
Today (Tuesday 15th June) the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel published its final report, following their inquiry into the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan and the series of failed police investigations which followed.
Private Investigator Daniel Morgan was reportedly on the brink of exposing police corruption in 1987. But before he could do so he was brutally murdered.
The case is Britain’s most investigated murder.
Five police investigations have previously failed to find the culprit.
Daniel’s family have been fighting for justice for over 30 years, overcoming multiple delays and obstacles to get the answers they deserve.
For the past eight years, the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel have been looking into, among other relevant matters, “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists … and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them”.
And now finally the panel has delivered its findings.
Panel finds Murdoch press and police connection to be of “serious and legitimate public concern”
The report confirmed that “links between personnel at the highest levels of the Metropolitan Police and people working for a news organisation linked to criminality associated with the murder of Daniel Morgan [News UK] are of serious and legitimate public concern”.
The panel pointed to evidence that News UK employees’ interference in the murder case was a deliberate and orchestrated attempt to discredit one of the investigations. The Panel concluded that, in its view, it was likely that this was arranged with one of the early suspects in the case.
The report also found that, as is widely known but barely investigated, press & police “linkages were used in an illegal trade in confidential information, much of it police information, via private investigators to the media”.
The 1200-page report cited that one early suspect in the case was found to have been paying a News UK reporter for several years, while that journalist sought to interfere in the investigations. The Panel noted how unusual it is for a reporter to be paid by an investigator. It is usually the other way around, with the reporter paying the investigator to provide information.
The panel concluded that there is “institutional corruption” at the Metropolitan Police Force.
In the House of Commons the Home Secretary Priti Patel stated that “a litany of mistakes” by the Metropolitan Police had “irreparably damaged the chances of successful prosecution”, but made next to no mention of the damning findings the Report made in respect of the media.
Why? Perhaps because her Government is opposed to Leveson Part Two: the inquiry promised to thoroughly investigate police corruption in relation to the press with all the powers of a Public Inquiry, which the Panel did not have (and for which the Panel were critical of the Government).
The initial case may have happened more than 30 years ago, but the corruption which helped covered it up persists to this day. Indeed, the Panel made it very clear that its charge of institutional corruption applies in the present. It is likely that corrupt relationships with the press, or “linkages” as described in the report, persist today.
To put an end to corruption in the police and the press, the Met should accept the reforms recommended by the Panel in full and the Government should re-establish Leveson Part Two immediately.