Riot victim father demands inquiry

Witney Gazette: Tariq Jahan, who was hailed a hero for calming tensions during the 2011 riots, said he feels he has had a "slap in the face" Tariq Jahan, who was hailed a hero for calming tensions during the 2011 riots, said he feels he has had a "slap in the face"

The father of a man killed in the Birmingham riots has called for a public inquiry into the conduct of the police's murder investigation, after a report found the case had been mishandled.

Tariq Jahan called West Midlands Police's inquiry into the deaths of his son Haroon Jahan, 20, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30 and 31-year-old Abdul Musavir, in August 2011 "a complete shambles".

He was speaking following today's publication of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report into the criminal investigation and particularly the conduct of two senior officers in the case.

It concluded one of the detectives had a case to answer for gross misconduct - although would not face disciplinary proceedings as he had since retired - but it cleared the senior investigating officer of any professional failings.

The three men died when they were struck by a Mazda being driven in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, while they were out trying to protect local shops from looters.

In July 2012, eight men were tried at Birmingham Crown Court and acquitted of their murder.

However, 10 weeks into that trial, the judge Mr Justice Julian Flaux expressed concerns about the evidence of senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Tagg over the fact eye witnesses to the incident had been offered immunity in the investigation.

The IPCC investigation found Detective Inspector Khalid Kiyani had been "reckless" when making that offer of immunity.

Mr Jahan said the police investigation had been riddled with "a catalogue of errors" and "incompetence".

He said: "I believe that the judge stopping the trial made a huge impact." He also added it was his belief Mr Kiyani was "a scapegoat".

"Where were the senior officers in this case?" he said.

"Who was in charge of DCI Tagg?" Mr Jahan added: "I believe a public inquiry into the actions of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service in this case should be ordered by the Home Secretary, Theresa May."

Mr Jahan, a delivery driver, was speaking at a press conference organised just yards from the location in Dudley Road where a car ploughed into his son in the early hours of August 10, leaving Haroon and his two friends - one an expectant father - fatally injured in the road.

Mr Jahan said he was merely seeking "accountability" from the police, and that the IPCC's report had presented "more questions than answers".

"We seem to be left with nothing, no justice, no clarity and we need transparency for the ordinary people sitting here," he said.

"I need to know why all of this happened."

Sumera Ali, Shazad and Abdul's sister, explained that her brother's children were "too young to understand what had happened to their father".

Shazad's wife Khansa was four months pregnant with their son Abdul Wahed, when he was killed.

Asked if he thought Chris Sims, West Midlands Police's chief constable, should consider his position Mr Jahan said: "Somebody has to be held accountable, but the buck stops with the guy at the top.

"We'll have to wait and see what comes back from the police."

As he left the press conference, he told to supporters: "It's not over yet."

The IPCC said a file had been sent to the CPS, over the police officers' conduct, but has since concluded there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that either police officer had knowingly made a false statement and as a result committed the offence of perjury".

Rachel Cerfontyne, the IPCC's deputy chairman, said Mr Kiyani's offer of immunity from prosecution to potential witnesses "was a reckless act".

The report also found Mr Kiyani's "apparent lack of record-keeping fell far below the standard expected of a police officer who was appointed to a key role in a murder investigation".

Ms Cerfontyne added that at the time tensions were "extremely high" with "significant pressure on police" to catch the culprits and maintain law and order against the backdrop of "extraordinary" rioting.

She said: "DI Kiyani was attempting to encourage individuals within the local community to come forward and provide details to progress the triple murder investigation.

"However, as an experienced senior officer, his offering of immunity to a group of unknown individuals without due consideration to potential offences or appropriate authorisation was a reckless act."

Addressing the disclosure of the immunity offer in court, Ms Cerfontyne said that while Mr Kiyani's superior Mr Tagg "should have been more forcible and clear in advising prosecution counsel of the immunity issue, he did not intend to deceive in his evidence provided at court".

"We found no evidence to corroborate the assertion that DCI Tagg knew of or sanctioned the offer of immunity prior to it being given at a public meeting by DI Kiyani."

The IPCC has recommended to West Midlands Police that Mr Tagg be given management advice "to remind him of his responsibilities as a senior investigating officer".

Ms Cerfontyne said: "The murder investigation was a complex, high-profile one and it was vital that it was carried out in a way that could command the confidence of all communities in Birmingham.

"While we cannot say what impact this issue had on the trial or the verdict, the bereaved families publicly placed their faith in the criminal justice system but they understandably feel that they have been failed by the system they trusted."

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Cann, of West Midlands Police, said: "The independent investigation shows no officer from West Midlands Police deliberately misled the trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

"The investigation found that in trying to encourage witnesses to come forward to help the triple murder investigation Detective Inspector Khalid Kiyani offered eyewitnesses immunity from prosecution for public order offences.

"This is clearly outside of the remit of any police officer and, as the IPCC states, was a reckless act."

He added: "The investigation found no evidence that the senior investigating officer Anthony Tagg had authorised or even knew of the offer made by DI Kiyani.

"However, during the court case, when he became aware of this immunity offer, the IPCC investigation concludes that he should have passed this information on with greater clarity."

Mr Cann said the senior officer had been given management advice, as recommended by the IPCC investigators, adding the force had also strengthened its procedures and training as a result of the issues in the report.

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