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Barrister calls for retrial in Lynette corruption case.

A WELSH barrister has called for a new trial to be ordered in the case of eight former police officers accused of fabricating evidence against three men wrongly convicted of murder.

Last year the trial of eight ex-officers and two civilians collapsed at Swansea Crown Court after the Crown Prosecution Service said crucial evidence had been destroyed by the senior police officer investigating the case.

Last week, however, it emerged that the material had not been destroyed.

The 10 on trial had been accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice to secure the conviction of three innocent men known as the Cardiff Three for the murder of Lynette White, a 20-year-old prostitute, in 1988.

Two parallel inquiries by Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Independent Police Complaints Commission are under way to establish what went wrong.

Most observers argue it would be very difficult or impossible to hold a new trial. But barrister Roger Everest, who lives near Cardiff, said a new trial should be ordered because the one that collapsed should be considered a "mistrial".

He said: "This was a mistrial because prosecuting counsel misled the judge by falsely claiming that evidence possibly helpful to the defence had been destroyed. It had not been destroyed and was actually in the possession of the South Wales police. This does not, therefore, give rise to a test for double jeopardy.

"In these circumstances, I believe the Court of Appeal can order a retrial on a proper application by the director of public prosecutions that the first proceedings were a mistrial and it is in the public interest to have the verdict by a jury in a case involving the credibility of South Wales police officers who are accused of perverting the course of justice in a murder trial."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "We're not able to speculate on what may or may not happen, given that there are inquiries going on into what went wrong in this case."
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 31, 2012
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