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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April, 2005, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Clydach appeal barrister quizzed
David Morris
David Morris is claiming that he did not receive a fair trial
A barrister who unsuccessfully defended a multiple killer may have given important legal advice to a prosecution witness, an appeal court has heard.

Judges in Cardiff are hearing an appeal by David Morris, the man convicted in 2002 of the Clydach murders.

It was suggested on Monday that Peter Rouch QC may have subconsciously softened his cross-examination of the witness in court.

Morris, 42, was convicted of murdering three generations of the same family.

Mandy Power, 34, and daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, eight, and the girls' grandmother Doris Dawson, 80, were bludgeoned to death at their home in Clydach, in the Swansea Valley, in June 1999.

A jury at Swansea Crown Court unanimously found Morris guilty of four counts of murder after an 11-week trial.

He has always maintained his innocence, and an appeal hearing, adjourned in February, resumed on Monday.

Michael Mansfield QC, representing Morris, began by cross-examining Mr Rouch on his handling of Morris' defence.

He highlighted advice that Mr Rouch claimed to have indirectly given to an acting police inspector Stephen Lewis - a key figure in the murder trial.

Mr Mansfield also revealed that secret recordings were made of the witness's conversations by the police, in which Mr Rouch was mentioned by name.

The jury in the original Swansea Crown Court case heard at the time that two serving police officers and a former police woman were arrested in connection with the murders one year after they happened.

Mandy Power, her daughters and disabled mother were murdered
Mandy Power and her daughters were killed at the family home

Acting Inspector Stephen Lewis and his wife Alison were both arrested on suspicion of murder.

Inspector Stuart Lewis - Stephen's twin - was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

All three were held and questioned for four days before being released without charge.

At the trial Mrs Lewis spoke of the lesbian affair she had been having with divorcee Mandy Power - a relationship of which her husband claimed he was unaware.

A witness claimed to have seen someone answering Stephen Lewis' description close to the scene of the killings on the night they happened.

Mr Lewis was later represented by Swansea solicitor David Hutchinson, who was a close friend of Mr Rouch.

It was suggested that Mr Hutchinson called on Mr Rouch for advice on whether his client should take part in a police identity parade.

Mr Mansfield said that, as a result of the advice received, Mr Lewis refused to take part in a parade. He later agreed to take part in a video parade.

Mr Rouch later became defence barrister for David Morris, and the potential conflict of interest was raised in court before the murder trial.

He told the court on Monday : "In 2002 I had no recollection of giving Mr Lewis any advice through Mr Hutchinson."

He said that when the subject was brought up before the trial judge, Justice Butterfield, it was dealt with in a "dismissive way".

Mr Mansfield also spoke about secret recordings made by the police of Mr Lewis' conversations with an unnamed man. During the conversation, Mr Lewis spoke about getting advice from a QC called Roach.

The appeal hearing continues.


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