Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 13:48 GMT
Yard to pay Silcott costs
Winston Silcott: Cleared of Blakelock murder
Scotland Yard is facing legal costs of up to £500,000 after agreeing damages to Winston Silcott for his wrongful conviction for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock.
The police agreed to pay "reasonable costs" at Friday's hearing in the High Court at which the £50,000 damages were formally announced.
Lawyers for the police told Mr Justice Morland they wished to correct the statement reported in the media that they had agreed to pay "a quantified sum" in costs. Reports suggested the bill could be as high as £500,000.
Silcott accepted the damages last month after his conviction for the murder of PC Blakelock in the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots in north London was quashed on appeal.
He is currently serving a life sentence for the murder in 1984 of boxer Anthony Smith, 22.
The Metropolitan Police Federation said last month it was ready to fund a civil action for damages against Silcott on behalf of his widow, Elizabeth Johnson.
At the time the damages were announced Mrs Johnson, who has since remarried, said: "I'm disgusted a convicted murderer should be given any money at all."
Spotlight on interviews
The police interviewed Silcott five times after the Broadwater Farm riots and the murder of PC Blakelock.
The police maintained that Silcott implicated himself in the fifth interview. There was no solicitor present and in 1995 police interviews were not recorded.
The day after his arrest Silcott was charged with the murder and he was convicted at the Old Bailey in March 1987.
In June 1991 the notes of the fifth police interview were examined by a handwriting expert who concluded they had not been written contemporaneously.
Imprints on the first page showed the original notes did not contain incriminating remarks.
Unsafe and unsatisfactory
As a result of these findings the home secretary referred Silcott's convictions to the Court of Appeal.
In November 1991 they were quashed as unsafe and unsatisfactory and Silcott was awarded £17,000 compensation for wrongful conviction.
The interviewing officers were subsequently charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perjury.
A jury at the Old Bailey acquitted them in November 1994.
In March 1993 Silcott issued proceedings against the Metropolitan Police claiming damages for malicious prosecution.
The agreement by the Metropolitan Police to pay Silcott £50,000 was made without admitted liability for malicious prosecution.
Silcott's counsel, Tim Owen, said the sum represented a "total vindication" of his client's reputation and added that the claim against the Metropolitan Police would be discontinued.