Victims of police spies start crowdfunding appeal to challenge public inquiry

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched today to raise funds that would enable victims of spycops to challenge the Undercover Policing Public Inquiry. Non state non police core participants have become increasingly disillusioned in the Inquiry and believe it will not discover the truth about how and why they were targeted. 

This legal action is being brought by three core participants who say their lives have been “thrown into disarray by the long-term policy of institutional spying employed by police forces around the country. ” They add:

Our fear is that if it continues in its current trajectory that the Undercover Policing Inquiry will be a whitewash. We have been forced to initiate a legal challenge to the Home Secretary’s decision to refuse to appoint a panel with the skill and diversity required. Our aim is to restore public confidence in the Undercover Policing Inquiry and its ability to get to the truth. Join us by contributing now and sharing this page on social media.

Who is bringing the case

Patricia Armani da Silva, a cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot dead at Stockwell tube station in July 2005 by police officers who mistook him for one of the terrorists who had tried too bomb London the previous day. His family and friends set up a justice campaign “to find out the truth about his death, to bring those responsible to justice and to campaign to end the police “shoot to kill” policy and prevent a similar tragedy happening again. In 2014 Operation Herne revealed that the justice campaign had been spied on by undercover police. Now they demand to know why and will not be denied justice again.

“Jessica” (a pseudonym) was an inexperienced, vulnerable 19 year old animal rights campaigner when she met Andy Coles. He said he was 24 and shared her beliefs but he was really a 32 year old married undercover police officer “tasked by his senior officers to spy on her and her friends.” She would not have consented to sex or intimacy has she known his real identity and feels violated and humiliated. She wants to know the truth about his deployment and his relationship with her, particularly whether her clear vulnerability made her easy prey.

John Burke-Monerville’s son Trevor was held at Stoke Newington police station in 1987 where his family believe he was beaten and suffered brain damage. A Justice for Trevor campaign, supported by the Hackney Community Defence Association, was launched and Trevor and members of his family were thereafter harassed by the police. Tragically, Trevor and his brother were murdered in separate incidents years apart. No one was prosecuted for the murders due to failures in the police investigation. Mr Burke- Monerville has learned that the justice campaign meetings were infiltrated by the Special Demonstration Squad, the secret unit which spied on political groups and campaigns.

Those bringing the action are calling for a a diverse panel with an expert understanding of racism, sexism and class discrimination to advise Mitting and to uncover the truth about spycops. “Jessica” said:

One of the central tasks of the inquiry must be to assess whether there has been institutional racism and institutional sexism in the context of undercover policing. The chair sitting alone does not have our confidence or public confidence on these vitally important issues that go to the heart of the inquiry.

Mitting has said he will set up a panel for the final stage of the inquiry – when recommendations for the future of undercover policing will be made –  but not for the earlier stages when the conduct of the police spies and their superiors will be examined. He claims a panel throughout the inquiry would be “a heavy cost in both time and money.” Core participants argue that without it, the truth will remain hidden and therefore any recommendations will be of no value. They say Mitting has allowed too much of the inquiry to be held in private and repeatedly used restriction orders to keep the identities of spycops secret without good reason.

The trio say: “We want to properly participate in this Inquiry. We want it to succeed. We want it to be transparent and fair. We feel that we have no option but to issue a legal challenge now.” In order to do this they need to raise £5,000 to cover the initial stages of the application for what they describe as “this crucial step to challenge the refusal to appoint a diverse panel.” If permission for the case is granted by a court they will then need to raise a further £50,000 to cover the costs of a full judicial review.

Donations from the public are urgently required. Please support the Crowdjustice fundraising page by giving what you can afford. Also please tell your friends and share on social media.

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