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 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 13:15 GMT
At a glance: Damilola police report
Damilola Taylor
Damilola bled to death in a stairwell in south London
The Damilola Taylor murder trial exposed flaws in the criminal justice system and failings in the police investigation of the case, two reports have found.

The report by the Bishop of Birmingham, John Sentamu, into the police investigation was particularly critical of the handling of 14-year-old 'Witness Bromley' - her crucial evidence was rejected because she lied.

That report's key conclusions and recommendations are outlined below.

Report's conclusions

  • Child witness 'Bromley' should have been interviewed in better ways

  • Investigative work relating to the possible use of mobile telephones by the defendants took too long

  • The forensic examination of footwear also took too long.

  • More work should have been done to identify and evidence all the options available to the perpetrators of the crime, travelling from the scene to a particular location (where the defendants in the case were known to have been shortly after).

  • Some of the evidence excluded from the jury (because of criminal justice rules) probably had a significant effect on the trial's outcome

    Bishop Sentamu
    Bishop Sentamu led a six-month inquiry

  • There were instances where the nature or circumstances of the evidence obtained by the investigators left the prosecution vulnerable to avoidable challenges under the existing rules of evidence

  • The initial attendance and management at the crime scene was good

  • The involvement of independent community advisors was innovative and effective

  • The various suspects in the case were arrested promptly and effectively

  • The police went to considerable lengths to acquire additional information and evidence by innovative covert means

  • The post-charge phase of the investigation and the associated work necessary in preparing the case for trial was less well managed

  • Establishing if the defendants had made incriminating remarks whilst in custody was innovative but poorly resourced - some of the evidence subsequently obtained was unnecessarily vulnerable to challenge

    Damilola Taylor
    Last images of Damilola Taylor caught on closed circuit TV footage

  • The police response to Damilola Taylor's murder is a manifest example of how the Met Police has moved on since its unsatisfactory investigation of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence

  • The great majority of the Metropolitan Police Service's efforts revealed a level of professionalism, commitment and application to the investigation and its commensurate difficulties that should be commended

    Report's recommendations

    The 54-page report includes 28 conclusions of wide-ranging recommendations relating not just to the police and the Met but the prison service and criminal justice system as a whole.

  • A greater balance is needed between prosecution and the defence during trials

  • The Government should reconsider the rules of evidence within trials

  • The Government should consider whether or not the prosecution's right of appeal on all matters of evidence during a trial needs reforming

  • The treatment and handling of vulnerable witnesses should be reconsidered

  • The Metropolitan Police should get more resources to deal with murder investigations as a lack of detectives remained "a serious problem" on the Damilola Taylor case

  • Senior investigating officers or anyone else on the investigation team in murders should not be reassigned until an assessment of all the outstanding work was made

  • HM Prison Service should reviews its internal information systems

      The BBC's Neil Bennett
    "The acquittal of four teenagers accused of his killing prompted intense criticism"
      Leroy Logan, Metropolitan Black Police Association
    "Various things have been implemented but it's an ongoing process"

    Click here to go to BBC London Online
    Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

    Not guilty verdict

    The fallout





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