Police spy inquest: mass walkout in protest

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Families and friends of those who died in police custody marching on Downing Street – victims of police spying stormed out of the inquest in protest on Wednesday
Families and friends of those who died in police custody marching on Downing Street – victims of police spying stormed out of the inquest in protest on Wednesday

‘NO justice, No peace’ and ‘Sack Judge Mitting now,’ were the cries from campaigners and victims of political policing as they blocked the main entrance of the Royal Courts of Justice, after storming out of the latest hearing of the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) on Wednesday.

The ‘public inquiry’ into undercover police infiltrating protest movements, sleeping with campaigners and even fathering children with them, far from uncovering the truth is shrouded in secrecy as names of the perpetrators are being withheld.

The walkout is a reaction to the refusal of Judge Mitting, to reveal the identities of the majority of police officers who were involved in undercover policing and who deceived women into relationships.

The inquiry is also examining the police infiltration of the Stephen Lawrence campaign. Doreen Lawrence was amongst those who walked out of the inquiry in protest.

When Judge Mitting was challenged on his refusal to reveal the cover names of the officers involved and of their managers, he said that victims ‘will be met with a wall of silence’.

Campaigners held aloft a large banner with the words ‘Tear Down the #Spycops Inquiry’s Brick Wall of Silence.’ The police spies were not only sent into campaign groups but also into trade unions.

Unite has been granted core participant status in the inquiry, after it was revealed that police officer Mark Jenner, under the cover name Mark Cassidy infiltrated construction union UCATT (now part of Unite) in the 1990s. Mark Jenner is one of the officers whose identity Judge Mitting is refusing to officially reveal.

Prior to the walkout, Phillipa Kaufman QC read out a statement on behalf of the victims and told Judge Mitting: ‘Our clients are not prepared to participate in a process where their presence is mere window dressing lacking all substance and meaning which would achieve nothing other than to lend the process a legitimacy it does not have.’

Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: ‘Unite entirely endorses the walkout by the victims of undercover policing. ‘The whole point of the public inquiry was to learn the truth into how the police for nearly 50 years infiltrated organisations and deceived women into sexual relationships.

‘The way Judge Mitting is operating is making a mockery of the process. If he is not prepared to ensure transparency he should immediately stand down and be replaced with a panel that is representative of society. ‘As information continues to trickle out there is growing evidence that many of these officers were heavily involved in the blacklisting of construction workers, which ruined hundreds of lives.’