This has been a funny old year for me, the first six months spent in Full Sutton and the last six months back here in H.M.P. Wakefield. I have been here before in 1997, which made settling in a little easier as I sort of knew my way around although it had changed in so many small ways. It probably doesn’t sound like much to you but by coming here I was able to walk bare foot on some freshly mown grass, something I’d not been able to do for at least twelve years. It was a real treat too, to watch the clouds scud across the sky whilst we were all outside on our thirty minutes of daily exercise. The move has been okay and I’m hoping that my next move will be when I come home at long last.
Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organize the petition and the thunderclap and all those people who’ve signed them. The issue of disclosure is one that seems to surprise so many people as they assume that all the evidence was handed over to the Defence before the Trial. The Crown Prosecution Service (C.P.S.), Essex Police and the Criminal Cases Review Commission (C.C.R.C), all state that everything was properly disclosed pre-trial. Of course it wasn’t, but by saying it was Essex Police, the C.P.S. and the C.C.R.C believe that makes it true but it’s really not true at all as you can see from the evidence presented in the disclosure booklet.
I hoped to be able to state that Essex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (C.P.S.) had now disclosed everything that we have asked for. I’m sorry to have to say that nothing has been disclosed as yet.
Luckily for me the Supreme Court was able to change the law regarding how evidence gathered during Police disciplinary investigations should be treated[i]. Until 2006/2007, all the evidence gathered by the Police Complaints Authority (P.C.A) or the Independent Police Complaints Commission (I.P.C.C.) which replaced the P.C.A. in 2004, had to be treated confidentially, automatically attracting a Public Interest Immunity (PII) Order. Therefore in 2011 I was lucky enough to be given access to all the documents that had been created by three different Police Investigations into how Essex Police had acted in relation to my case (one in 1988, one in 1991, and one in 2001). It’s taken far too many years to put everything discovered during these three investigations into some sort of understandable order but it has now culminated in our petition for disclosure.
I have recently written to my MP, European MP’s, Essex Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner in an ‘Open Letter’ making official requests for disclosure of the material set out in the petition. I will let you know how I got on with my official requests for this information and the replies will be published on the web site.
The 30-year anniversary was a milestone I did not expect to pass in jail. To quote the Cat ‘A’ Committee from Thursday 27th June 1991: “The Committee noted that the offences had been narrowly targeted and there was no sign of mental illness of further evidence from the prison (after 6 years of custody) to suggest that Bamber would be a danger to the public at large.” Downgraded to Category ‘B’[ii]. On 12th September 1991 an article was published in the News of the World[iii], giving details of how I was not considered to be a danger to the public and that my category had been downgraded. This sparked my relatives, the beneficiaries of my late family's estate, into action and after Robert Boutflour complained to the Home Office, I was subsequently made Category ‘A’ again[iv]. I have remained a Category ‘A’ prisoner ever since despite there being no grounds for keeping me as such.
It is not just Essex Police – the whole system can be unfair when it wants to be. Thanks to you, all disclosure may happen and I won’t have to endure any more.
[i] Taylor v Anderton (Police Complaints Authority Interviewing), Ante, at Pg. 465 (Archibald, 2006 Pg. 1356)
[ii] Letter Lifer management Unit dated 20.09.91 PDF
[iii] News of World Article 12.09.91 PDF
[iv] Letter Home office to The Royal Courts of Justice dated 30.07.92: “He was held as a Category ‘A’ from 1985 until, in September 1991, following the annual review of his security status, he was downgraded to category ‘B’ . The change was reported in the press, and there followed immediate representations from the remaining members of BAMBER’s family, and from the police to the effect that the family would still be at grave risk from BAMBER if he was to escape be released. One of those members of his family was Mr. Robert Boutflour who I understand is also a defendant at the Civil case in August. In the light of those representations, BAMBER’s security category was again reviewed, and it was decided that he should be reclassified back to a ‘A’ category prisoner.”