Blair Peach in the press: “why the police report on Peach’s death must be published” (5 October 1979)

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Commander Cass completed his second, substantial report, on 14 September 1979. Cass found that Peach must be assumed to have been killed by a police officer, as there was no evidence of any other potential cause of death. He considered the possibility that the blow might have been struck accidentally or unwittingly, but again, there was no evidence at all to suggest this. If an officer had wanted to say that it had been a mistake, they could have come forward to say so and none had. Cass wrote. “In the absence of other evidence it is therefore a matter of consideration as to whether the death was unlawful, there being little evidence from any source that criminal acts were being committed by the demonstrators at the time of the death.”

Cass had one primary suspect – “Officer E” – “Officer E is aware of what actually occurred”, he wrote, “It can be clearly seen from the various statements and records of interviews with these officers that their explanations were seriously lacking and in the case of Officer E, Officer F and Officer H, there was [a] deliberate attempt to conceal the presence of the carrier at the scene at the vital time.”

Yet just three weeks after the Cass report, the Director of Public Prosecutions Sir Thomas Hetherington announced that despite Cass’s “very thorough” report, there would be no prosecutions, either for murder or for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The authors of the above letter – 12 academic lawyers at the University of Kent including Wade Mansell and Ian Grig-Spall – did not know what was in the Cass report, the main details of which only became public knowledge in 2010 – but they rightly insisted that the Cass report should be published.

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