CORRUPT COPS STAY ON PATROL
Police lies exposed in Court of Appeal
FOUR people jailed for possessing drugs planted on them by Stoke Newington police had their conviction squashed earlier this month.
The Appeal Court ruling is a breakthrough in the campaign to halt police crime, and a blow for Stoke Newington’s senior officers who who wish to whitewash corruption. But it is not justice.
Although eight police officers have been transferred and six suspended, not a single officer has stood trial for framing innocent people. And many of their victims still languish in jail while the legal system blocks or delays appeals.
Only Detective Constable Roy Lewandowski is serving an 18-month jail sentence for theft from a manslaughter victim’s house.
But he remains unpunished for his part in drug dealing and falsifying evidence. And, more alarmingly, so do his crooked colleagues — who continue to walk free, often patrolling local streets. A Hackney Community Defence Association inquiry, launched last year and based on extensive interviews with those framed by police, has exposed a core of 13 offending officers, and suggests up to 30 others may be involved.
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard’s corruption probe, Operation Jackpot, continues at a sluggish pace. Although it is investigating drug dealing, theft and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, it is a police complaints and not a criminal investigation, working behind close doors. Its findings may never be made public. Whatever Operation Jackpot decides, the catalogue of quashed prosecutions, acquittals and dropped charges shows Stoke Newington police are already discredited.
VICTORY: Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley and Dennis Tulloch outside the Appeal Court after their convictions were quashed
Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley, Dennis Tulloch and Everald Brown were cleared of drug charges on 2 March after prosecution barrister Kenneth Aylett admitted: “There are police officers upon whom suspicion has fallen as to their reliability in any evidence they may give in court.”
Most of those facing trumped-up charges are black, including the four cleared this month. Kingsley, who was sentenced to four months after police planted cocaine and LSD in his home, said: “There is a lot of racism in a system which only takes the word of police officers. The officers who raided me were all white and the people in court were all white.”
The four received no apology. Their appeals were adjourned three times before reaching court. Kingsley said: “I am very bitter, angry and disappointed that the system failed us. I just wish all this had taken place earlier.”
Want to know more?
Discover the full story in these two HCDA pamphlets
“A CRIME IS A CRIME IS A CRIME”
Report into police crime in Hackney, 1989-1991. Presented to the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in November 1991.
“FIGHTING THE LAWMEN”
HCDA’s first report into Stoke Newington drug squad’s criminal activities. Includes personal accounts and describes how HCDA investigated the police.
£1 each from HCDA, Colin Roach Centre, 10A Bradbury Street, London N16 7NY.
APPEAL FOR WITNESSES
Outside “Take-Two”, Kingsland High Street Wednesday 23 December 1992, 5.15pm
Did you see a young black woman get assaulted and manhandled by police officers?
If you see anyoody being unjustly treated by the police, you might be able to act as a witness for them. If we stand together and support each other we can rid our community of police injustice. If your have any information, please contact HCDA on 071 249 0193.
OTHERS PAY FOR POLICE CRIME
Officers planted crack on innocent man
IDA ODERINDE, Dennis Tulloch, Rennie Kingsley and Everald Brown have had their convictions quashed. But others framed by the police are still waiting.
In 1990, Hugh Prince was in a Dalston shebeen when it was raided by police. An officer ordered Prince into an empty, unlit room to be searched. When he refused, PCs Christopher Hart and James Havercroft threatened Prince with a sledgehammer and planted eight rocks of crack cocaine in his cigarette packet.
PC Ronald Palumbo – who helped frame the four cleared earlier this month – and DC Barry Lyons took charge of the case.
“They took me to my home and searched it without me there – I had to wait in the car,” Prince says. “They didn’t find anything. It was like a big joke to them. I made a complaint, but nothing was done about it, and now I’m a convicted criminal.”
Prince was sentenced to two months in jail for possession of crack. He was released in January 1991. He says: “Palumbo and Lyons didn’t give evidence in court. Although they’ve been sus-pended, it’s no good to me. I’m still struggling to clear my name. Hart and Havercroft are still at Stoke Newington police station. “
“Although it’s three years since it happened, I live in fear of it happening again, because nobody’s taking any notice.”
Prince’s grounds for appeal have yet to be lodged, but three more cases are waiting to be heard by the Appeal Court: those of Sirus Baptiste and Leroy Lewis – who were fitted up by PC Terrence Chitty – and Eula Carter, whose case was adjourned on 2 March.
HCDA does not know how many others have been framed. While the police conduct their secret inquiry, they are condemning people to stay in jail for crimes they did not commit. HCDA has investigated two other cases – Danny Bailey and Winston Thompson. We are convinced they were planted with drugs.
Bailey is serving three-and-a-half years for intent to supply crack. He was planted with one rock by DC Peter Popham in Sandringham Road in 1991. There is evidence that Popham committed perjury while giving testimony. Thompson was released from prison last year serving 11 months of a two-and-a-half year sentence for intent to supply crack. He was planted with five rocks by PC Palumbo on Sandringham Road in 1991. Grounds for appeal have been lodged and he is waiting to hear if his case has been referred to the Appeal Court.
Many more people have contacted HCDA claiming to have been fitted up by Stoke Newington police. Some of these allegations, which include robbery cases, involve officers at the centre of the police crime ring. HCDA has not thoroughly examined these cases but believes they warrant further investigation. We know of ten such cases, including:
- Maxine Edwards, who claims she was planted with crack by DC Beinard Gillan and PC Gerrard Carroll.
- Cecil Forbes, who claims he was planted with crack by PC Chitty.
- Val Howell, who claims she was planted with crack by DC Peter McCulloch.
- Mohamadou Njie, who claims he was fitted up by PC Chitty and DC McCulloch for intent to supply crack.
FALSE CONVICTIONS: WHAT THE PAPERS DIDN’T SAY
THIS month’s appeals against false drug convictions attracted extensive media coverage. But while the media focused on the appeal decision, it ignored the other people who have been wrongly convicted – despite having been given detailed briefings by HCDA. HCDA’s role in getting cases to the Appeal Court was mentioned in some TV and radio reports but over-looked in every national newspaper except The Guardian. If the group had not unrolled its banner outside the Appeal Court on 2 March, it would have been shunted aside altogether.
The media likes to portray passive victims rather than people fighting back, and overlooks the fact that Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley and others are centrally involved in HCDA. We have moved on from being just victims and it’s time the press caught up.
The media has also ignored HCDA’s call for an independent judicial inquiry. Instead, journalists run around like headless chickens looking for “media-friendly” sources such as Diane Abbott and Liberty.
And as ever, the police are given their usual platform. The recent appeals were portrayed as hampering the efforts of Stoke Newington Chief Superintendent Niall Mulvihill and his “incorruptible” officers to get drugs off the streets of Hackney.
Whenever the media chooses to report on a subject, it treats it as an isolated incident, hardly worth its interest. The media rushes to respond to “topical” issues and overlooks the problems we face in the community.
The media comes and goes and leaves us to deal with the problems. Journalists focus on law and order to the exclusion of all else — including the unemployment and poverty that fuel crime.
HCDA uncovers web of corruption
HCDA believes that a core of at least 13 officers have been at the centre of police crime in Hackney. One is in jail and three are suspended on full pay. Another, Sergeant Gerrard Carroll, shot himself on 29 January 1992 — the day when eight officers were transferred. But most of the suspect 13 are still on the beat.
DC Roy Lewandowski is serving 18 months for stealing from the house of Hackney manslaughter victim David Berman. In February, the two men convicted of killing Berman — James Blake and Francis Hart — had their convictions quashed. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, said Lewandowski’s evidence was “rotten”. Lewandowski’s antics prompted the setting up of Scotland Yard’s corruption Inquiry, Operation Jackpot, in 1991, after jailed crack dealer Pearl Cameron revealed that Lewandowski was her supplier.
There is a danger that senior officers will focus accusations on Lewandowski and a few others in order to let the rest off the hook. Yet most of the suspect 13 appear in several HCDA cases. Even the Crown Prosecution Service is reluctant to prosecute drug cases brought by Stoke Newington police. On 4 January, it dropped five cases because of doubts about police evidence. In three of them, PC Terrence Chitty, one of our 13, was a key witness.
The extent of police crime suggests senior officers know about it and either condone it or cannot control junior officers. HCDA knows of officers forging each other’s signatures, bypassing the system controlling the issue of notebooks, leaving relations with informers unsupervised, and flouting complaints procedures.
Police crime in Hackney requires an independent judicial inquiry. Drug dealing, theft and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice are criminal offences — whoever commits them. Those officers who have wrecked people’s lives and gained from corruption should be punished as criminals.
Police lawlessness has set back the fight against other forms of crime in a poor working-class area. A public examination will be able to propose changes to improve society’s ability to deal with all crime.
The Suspect Thirteen
- PS Gerrard Carroll Deceased; involved in six HCDA cases.
- PC Mark Carroll Transferred; 10 cases.
- PC Terrence Chitty Transferred; 12 cases.
- PC Bruce Galbraith Suspended; five cases.
- DC Bernard Gillan Transferred; six cases.
- DC Paul Goscombe Transferred; five cases; Lewandowski’s partner August 1990.
- DC Christopher Hart No action; 12 cases.
- DS Graham Lebiond On long-term sick leave; one case; Lewandowski’s partner 1989 and 1990.
- DC Roy Lewandowski Convicted of theft; four cases.
- DC Barry Lyons Suspended; eight cases.
- DC Peter McCulloch Transferred; seven cases; Lewandowski’s assistant in Blake and Hart false convic-tions.
- DC Ronald Palumbo Suspended; 14 cases.
- DS Robert Watton Transferred; four cases.
Centre unites local campaigns
THE Colin Roach Centre, set up by Hackney Community Defence Association and the Trade Union Support Unit, opened on 12 January.
The opening marked the tenth anniversary of Colin Roach’s fatal shooting in the foyer of Stoke Newington police station. Roach’s father unveiled a plaque, and then more than 350 people joined the fifth annual We Remember march to commemorate those who have suffered or died in police custody. A wreath was laid outside Stoke Newington police station.
Ten years ago, Colin Roach’s death prompted a vigorous campaign supported by trade unionists and community groups. The new centre represents the coming together of these two strands of resistance.
HCDA and the Trade Union Support Unit have worked closely for five years. When new premises were needed, they decided to combine resources. But the centre also aims to reach beyond these groups and develop campaigning organisations to fight all attacks on working-class people.
The centre has formed an anti-fascist collective and an anti-corruption campaign, and is home to Hackney’s Miners Support Committee. It holds regular discussions, video events, produces the bi-monthly Hackney Heckler newsletter, and holds surgeries to advise on issues such as squatting and the council tax.
If you would like to get involved in any of these activities or want to set up a new campaign, contact HCDA on 071 249 0193 or TUSU on 071 249 8086.
Membership of the Colin Roach Centre is £5 a month waged (with reductions for low waged), and £1 a month unwaged.
The Colin Roach Centre, 10a Bradbury Street, London N16 &IN.
WORKERS FIGHT COUNCIL CORRUPTION
VICTIMISED local council workers last month started a campaign to challenge council corruption.
Hackney Anti-Corruption Campaign plans an in-depth investigation into corruption allegations. It is backed by HCDA and the Trade Union Support Unit, and based at the Colin Roach Centre. Most Hackney residents know corruption is rampant, but feel powerless to stop it. The Labour and Conservative parties are not fighting corruption — their main interest is in attacking workers.
Hackney is one of Europe’s poorest regions. The black market economy fuels corruption. Textile sweatshops avoid VAT and pay refugees low wages; police officers are involved in organised crime; and a Labour Party mafia, including some councillors, senior council officers and trade union officers, runs a £300 million empire. Meanwhile, the Hackney Gazette stifles public debate.
If you have any information, please contact HACC on 071 249 8086 or 071 249 0193.