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 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 15:53 GMT
At a glance: Damilola CPS report
The stairwell where Damilola Taylor was found
Damilola Taylor was found in a stairwell
Despite the acquittal of all four defendants in the Damilola Taylor murder trial, a report has said the Crown Prosecution Service was right to take the case to court.

The report by the Director of Public Prosecutions made a number of findings about the case.

Its key points are outlined below.


Resources

  • The prosecution team was involved in the case early and included a very experienced legal team which had sufficient time to prepare.

  • New evidence passed to the team increased pressure, but there were no unnecessary effects on the trial.

  • The team was efficient, its members knew what their role was and the case did not suffer from a lack of resources or overall control.

    Witness Bromley

  • Concerns about Bromley were raised by investigating officers in January 2001, because her interviews contained little relevant evidence.

  • They said the interviewing officer was unable to ask the right questions because of lack of knowledge of the case.

    As a result Bromley told lies about topics unconnected with the investigation which were not probed.

    Damilola Taylor
    Damilola Taylor was attacked in November 2000

  • The CPS lawyer advised that if information from Bromley was used at trial she would have to give live evidence.

  • Despite concerns Bromley was a "damaged" witness police were advised to press on as there were no other real leads.

  • On 7 February the lawyer saw videos of Bromley and said she was an unimpressive witness, whose evidence would need support for a successful prosecution.

  • Report on 24 June said Bromley was "capable of belief" and her core account was true and could be put before a jury.

  • But when the suspects had their first court appearance on 27 June the investigation was "far from complete".

  • The report said the police and the CPS should have established priorities.

  • It said the CPS must be "proactive" in helping investigators to focus upon matters which will be of most evidential significance at trial.

  • On 21 December the judge ruled Bromley's evidence admissible.

  • The legal team were shown the Family Liaison Notes for the first time on 7 January 2002, but it did not contain information about the degree of Bromley's spending which emerged at trial.

  • Trial began 30 January after legal argument.

  • Having again ruled that her evidence should be heard by the jury, the judge later said it was unreliable.

    Mobile phone evidence

  • Damilola Taylor was attacked at about 4.40pm and from early on there was evidence showing the suspects at a location not far away by 5.30pm.

  • A police officer walked this distance to show it was possible.

  • By late September the prosecution team had information suggesting that mobile telephones connected to one or more defendants had been used within the "footprint" of the location.

  • Evidence proving possession or ownership of mobile phones presented difficulties as it was inadmissible.

  • A map showing where the phones in question were used was made and two suspects claimed ownership, claiming they were not at the scene of the crime.

  • The distance from the scene of the crime to the location could have been covered by someone running, by using a short cut or travelling by bus or car.

  • By the time the case reached trial there was some evidence the perpetrators travelled by car, but this was ruled inadmissible.

  • A police officer had run the distance, but did not make a statement or inform his superiors.

  • The judge said the jury should not indulge in "impermissible speculation" about the time it might take to run, cycle or drive the distance.

  • The report said it would have been "desirable" to have evidence before the court about the various possibilities for covering the distance, so that that direction may not have been given.

  • Report recommends further scrutiny of terms of evidence needed.

  • In particular "both prosecution and defence may be prejudiced if information about mobile phone usage in a particular place at a particular time is not routinely revealed and available to be used".

    Witnesses

  • Confession evidence from a number of witnesses including prison staff, a social worker, and fellow inmates of the defendants upheld.

  • Claims that the bottle used to cut Damilola was twisted in his leg and that a marble was placed in his throat made the press.

  • The newspaper reports "unnecessarily" weakened the case by raising the possibility witnesses had been influenced.

  • The report said: "Leaks of this kind must be avoided. Those minded to do it should realise that their actions may seriously jeopardise the chances of a fair trial and a true verdict."

    Decision to prosecute

  • Because the original analysis by counsel was compelling, the judge had ruled that Bromley's evidence was admissible and there was evidence of confessions and proof of false alibis, the case required being "put before a jury".

  • After two defendants were acquitted, the judge ruled that there was still sufficient evidence in respect of the two remaining to leave the case to the jury.
  •   WATCH/LISTEN
      ON THIS STORY
      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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