Fresh evidence of Dominic Cummings offences in dossier, ex-chief prosecutor claims
A former crown prosecutor has sent authorities a dossier accusing the prime minister’s chief adviser of breaking coronavirus laws and perverting the course of justice.
Lawyers acting for Nazir Afzal OBE, the former chief crown prosecutor for northwest England, have now sent investigators legal submissions calling for action to be taken.
Dominic Cummings denies wrongdoing over taking his family to County Durham during the UK-wide lockdown in April, when his wife had Covid-19 symptoms.
Police later found that he may have breached the law during a trip to Barnard Castle, but said they would not fine or prosecute him.
Last week the former chief constable of Durham, Mike Barton, said Cummings’ behaviour had made it more difficult for officers to enforce the rules and his name had been cited by some as an excuse for law-breaking.
Barton added: “If the public don’t think the police are operating in a fair and impartial way, you won’t get their trust and you won’t get their support.”
The warning came as research showed that Cummings’ behaviour was a key factor in breaking down a sense of national unity over the lockdown.
Afzal said: “It doesn’t fill me with much confidence that they chose to close ranks when the recent survey shows that public compliance with the lockdown regulations was significantly impacted by the actions of Cummings and the inadequacy of the government and police response.”
Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
DOMINIC CUMMINGS, MARY WAKEFIELD – SUBMISSIONS MADE ON BEHALF OF NAZIR AFZAL TO POLICE AND PROSECUTORS – ALLEGED BREACH OF ‘COVID REGULATIONS’
Lawyers acting for former Crown Prosecutor, Nazir Afzal OBE, have today sent detailed submissions to the Director of Public Prosecution and the police on the prosecution of Dominic Cummings and his wife, Mary Wakefield. The submissions explain why they believe the legal test is met for prosecuting Dominic Cummings and Mary Wakefield in respect of their actions during ‘lockdown’ in March and April 2020.
The submissions are extensive. They include 8 annexes, new statements from eye-witnesses, and other evidence collated by Mr. Afzal’s solicitors.
The CPS will usually bring a prosecution if the legal criteria for doing so – known as the CPS ‘Full Code Test’ – is satisfied. In the submissions, Mr. Afzal’s lawyers conclude that, on the basis of eye witness accounts and the explanations given by Mr. Cummings and Ms. Wakefield so far, the Full Code Test is or appears to be satisfied for six offences under Regulation 6 (and 9) of the ‘Covid’ regulations, leaving home without a reasonable excuse in relation to Mr. Cummings, and three in relation to Ms. Wakefield.
It also concludes that the Full Code test appears to be satisfied in relation to one offence of perverting the course of justice, that arises from Mr. Cummings’ statement in the Rose Garden in Downing Street on 25th May 2020. During that highly publicised statement, Mr. Cummings made public assertions about his conduct at Barnard Castle on 12 April 2020 and his actions on the weekend of 17-19 April 2020, that appear to be wholly inconsistent with accounts of his conduct at that time obtained from eye-witnesses.
The submissions have been sent to:
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC, CPS
The Chief Constable of Durham Police
The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolitan Police
The CPS HQ in York
The submissions also invite the police to carry out further investigations, such as obtaining:
ANPR, ULEZ and London Congestion Charge records for vehicles in which Mr. Cummings and Ms. Wakefield travelled between 27 March and 19 April 2020;
location data from the vehicles themselves;
CCTV from Barnard Castle from 12 April 2020 and from areas surrounding Houghall Woods, in County Durham on 19 April 2020;
an analysis of the mobile phone devices which Mr. Cummings and Ms. Wakefield had with them between 27 March and 19 April 2020
Mr. Afzal says:
“My one objective was to try to get to the truth. The police investigation thus far has been cursory and incomplete. The picture painted by the witnesses that have come forward appears clear and coherent and is inconsistent in important parts with the version given by Mr. Cummings. Whilst tens of thousands of families, including mine, were struggling to mourn their loved ones, Mr. Cummings was allegedly travelling the country with no consideration of the consequences. The conclusion that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute is understandable, in my view. I believe the CPS’ public Interest test is also met given the impact that this has had on general compliance with Covid Regulations.
“It is now a matter for the police & CPS to decide whether to take this forward. There is a perception currently that the law isn’t being applied equally and the poorest, most vulnerable and least powerful of our citizens are those that suffer. We will watch with great interest.”
Afzal’s solicitor, Mike Schwarz, a partner at the firm Hodge Jones & Allen, said: “We appeal to any witness who can shed light on Mr Cummings’ activities, especially in March and April, to come forward. We are driven by 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 director of public prosecutions.”
Anyone with information is urged to email Schwarz, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Covid Regulations”): ‘During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse’: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/regulation/6/made. Regulation 9 makes it an offence to contravene regulation 6.
It is an offence at common law to do any act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.
Mr. Afzal’s solicitors in this matter are Hodge Jones & Allen, partner Mike Schwarz. Matthew Ryder QC and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh from Matrix Chambers are his barristers.
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