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Wednesday, July 7, 1999 Published at 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK


Neglect charges against Lawrence detective reduced

Detective Inspector Bullock insists he is innocent

Four disciplinary charges against a senior detective who worked on the original murder investigation into the death of black teenager Stephen Lawrence have been dropped.

Detective Inspector Ben Bullock now faces only three internal charges following the publication of the Macpherson report, which was highly critical of the handling of the murder in 1993.

Asad Rehman, a spokesman for the Stephan Lawrence Family Campaign, today criticised the decision to drop some of the charges.

"We feel once again there has been a whitewash. The only time we have seen any justice is when the issue has become public," said Mr Rehman.

"Once again, police officers are prosecuted by police officers... no wonder, and not even at the end of the investigation, that charges are dropped, saying there's no case to answer. It's a sad, sad day and clearly the death knell of the Police Complaints Authority," he said.

Stephen Lawrence case: Timeline of events
Stephen Lawrence, 18, was stabbed to death at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London. No one has been brought to justice for the murder.

The Macpherson report heavily criticised the police investigation, saying it was marred by professional incompetence, institutional racism and a failure of leadership by senior officers.

Parents may attend

Det Insp Bullock put in his retirement papers on 25 June, at the start of the full disciplinary hearing, giving notice of his decision to leave the force within 28 days. He is leaving on health grounds.

But he will still face disciplinary action, which could affect his pension.

[ image: No one has been convicted of Stephen's murder]
No one has been convicted of Stephen's murder
Other senior officers on the original murder inquiry would also have faced similar charges if they had not taken early retirement.

Det Insp Bullock, who was second in command of the Lawrence inquiry team, says he is innocent and rejects allegations he did not do enough to find the teenager's killers.

A tribunal made up of one senior police officer and two members of the Police Complaints Authority will hear all the arguments in private, although Stephen Lawrence's parents, Doreen and Neville, will be able to attend.

The hearing is expected to last up to six weeks.

If the remaining three charges are proved it will be up to the Metropolitan Police to decide what action to take. The detective could be reprimanded or sacked, losing his pension.

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