September 20, 2011
Scotland Yard’s supergrass system has been called into question after a judge ruled a key criminal witness was a “pathological liar” for the second time in six months.
Full details of the handling of the man – a career criminal with psychiatric problems and convictions for bribing police, blackmail and firearms offences – and how tens of millions of pounds have been spent on cases based on his flawed evidence have been revealed for the first time. Gary Eaton was used in a failed prosecution of four men for the murder of the private detective Daniel Morgan.
Now a leading police officer has warned of the inherent dangers in using such so-called “assisting offenders”. Chief Constable Jon Murphy, head of crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), says using supergrasses is akin to “dancing with the devil”.
“The use of a supergrass … demands some really informed, critical decision-making by experienced people who fully understand all of the implications and who aren’t just focused on the end result for that particular investigation,” he said.
The story of how Eaton, 51, was used can be revealed after a crown court judge ruled he was a “pathological liar”. The judge excluded his evidence from a second criminal case.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 5:06 am