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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 09:45 GMT
Police inquiry follows butler trials
Harold Brown centre is escorted by police officers from court
The two cases have cost the taxpayer about 2m
The collapse of two cases involving royal butlers has prompted an internal review of the Metropolitan Police's investigations.

Three charges against royal butler Harold Brown of stealing valuables from the estate of Diana, Princess of Wales were dropped on Tuesday.

Prosecutor William Boyce QC said there was no realistic prospect of a conviction in connection with Mr Brown since the collapse of the recent high profile case of trial of Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell.

They stand by their investigation and, clearly, it's an investigation you can stand by

Glen Smyth, Metropolitan Police Federation
The two cases have cost the taxpayer an estimated 2m.

Both were investigated by Scotland Yard's Special Inquiry Team, which was set up to deal with high profile sensitive inquiries.

Commissioner Sir John Stevens has now appointed the former Chief of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland, Bill Taylor, to conduct the review.

He will report directly to Sir John and has been asked to identify "any lessons to be learned from these cases".

Following his arrest, Mr Brown told police he had been asked by Mr Burrell to dispose of a jewelled model Arabian dhow - something the prosecution intended to argue Mr Burrell did not have the authority to do.

But when it emerged during Mr Burrell's earlier trial that he had had a conversation with the Queen in which he had told her he was keeping some of Diana's possessions, it became clear that Mr Burrell did have this authority.

Bill Taylor
Bill Taylor will lead the police review
This undermined the central plank of the prosecution's case in the trial of Mr Brown, 50, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

The case against society jeweller Jan Havlik, 51, from Chelmsford, Essex, accused of dishonestly handling the valuables, has also been dropped.

Mr Brown's solicitor, James Brotherton, said his client was "clearly delighted by the result" but had no intention of selling his story.

Prosecutors had applied for the trial to be delayed until the completion of an inquiry into the Paul Burrell case by the Prince of Wales' private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, and Edmund Lawson QC.

Mr Burrell was cleared of theft charges at the Old Bailey on 1 November after details of his conversation with the Queen emerged, undermining the prosecution's case.

However, the judge turned this application down, leading prosecutors to believe the case against Mr Brown could no longer continue.

Mr Brown had faced three charges under the 1968 Theft Act.

'Palpable nonsense'

He was accused of stealing an ornate model Arabian sailing vessel between 1 January and 2 November, 1997, a bangle and pair of earrings between 1 January and 2 December, 1997, and a diamond daffodil motif between 1 January and 12 November, 1997.

Mr Brown had been a servant to senior members of the Royal Family for more than three decades and continued to work for Princess Margaret even after he was charged.

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Glen Smyth, said claims that the two-year inquiry had not been good enough were "palpable nonsense".

He said officers had produced "compelling and persuasive evidence" but could not have known that the Queen would intervene with dramatic new evidence which would result in halting both trials.

The said the officers involved in the investigation were more than willing to explain their decision-making to any inquiry.


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03 Dec 02 | UK
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