Environmental activists who were wrongfully convicted have called upon UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer to answer questions at the Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI), for his role in an alleged coverup of the use of undercover police when he was Director of Public Prosecutions. The activists in question were arrested whilst planning a protest against Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station, in Nottinghamshire, England, in April 2009.
The open letter, which has received scant media coverage since its publication on 4 February 2021, alleges that Starmer, "may have been involved in a cover-up of police and prosecutors orchestrating wrongful convictions".
"A decade ago this month the world learnt that Mark Kennedy was a Metropolitan Police officer spying on environmentalists. This information led to the collapse of a trial where six environmental campaigners were accused of conspiring to occupy a coal-fired power station", the letter published via the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) website explains.
In a separate trial, "the convictions of 20 campaigners for conspiring to occupy the same coal-fired power station were quashed by the Court of Appeal, because the prosecution failed to disclose information about Mark Kennedy’s involvement that would have helped their defence", COPS add.
"Why did Keir Starmer ask for three reviews into CPS failings relating to undercover policing that were kept from public view, before commissioning the Rose report?", the signatories to the letter asks.
"What action was taken by Keir Starmer after the Rose report was shown to be wrong, to uncover other miscarriages of justice?", the letter adds.
Crucially, the letter points out that a report commissioned by then-Home Secretary Theresa May into possible miscarriages of justice identified "83 activists who were convicted in trials involving an undercover officer, over three decades", and ask how it is that the CPS inquiry, "has to date discovered nobody who the media and campaigners had not already identified".
The UCPI was initiated by Theresa May when it was discovered that police had been secretly recording the lawyer-client conversations of family of Stephen Laurence who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993. Stephen Lawrence's family continued to push for their son's killers to face justice after a botched police investigation resulted in a separate inquiry to determine that the Metropolitan Police were "institutionally racist". After the UCPI was set-up, the Metropolitan Police admitted to infiltrating and surveilling over 1,000 political, environmental and social justice groups since 1968.