CPS decision to prosecute Newham officer: “I hope now to see justice” – Mauro Demetrio

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have announced their intention to prosecute PC Alex MacFarlane, who was recorded allegedly saying “You’ll always be a nigger”, in the case raised by Mauro Demetrio of Newham.
The decision reverses an earlier announcement by the CPS that there would be no prosecution.

Mauro Demetrio said today

“I am relieved that some action is now being taken as the previous CPS decision left me feeling that racism was acceptable. I hope now to see justice”

Estelle du Boulay, a spokesperson for Newham Monitoring Project said today:

“We welcome the CPS announcement to bring a charge of a racially aggravated public order offence against PC Alex MacFarlane in the case of Mauro Demetrio. The CPS has a duty to take action at the earliest opportunity against alleged perpetrators of racist crime, whether they are police officers or anyone else in society. We hope the change of decision today reflects an improvement in practice in how the CPS consider future cases as well as sending out a message that racism will not be tolerated at any level.

All too often the real experience of black Londoners seems to be that it is one law for them and another for the police. It is rare to see prosecutions against the police and even rarer for them to result in an officer being found guilty or punished. Today’s decision is a step in the right direction but ultimately it is the long-term outcome in this case that matters to the public in terms of seeing justice done or marking a concrete change to how racism and abuse of power are dealt with.”

Mauro Demetrio’s lawyer, Michael Oswald issued the following statement:

“We welcome the decision of the CPS to instigate a criminal prosecution of PC Alex McFarlane of Forest Gate Police Station arising out of his conduct towards Mr Mauro Demetrio on 11 August 2011.

We regret that it required Mr Demetrio to challenge their initial refusal to prosecute before the CPS was able and willing to recognise the patently flawed nature of that original decision. However, now that they have belatedly chosen to do the right thing, we – like Mr Demetrio himself – look to the CPS to do their job properly in the conduct of the prosecution of PC McFarlane all the way through to the trial. In the process, we hope that justice may be seen to be done, so that some semblance of confidence in the criminal justice system may yet be salvaged for Mr Demetrio and those many others who tend to find themselves in his position.

Mr Demetrio’s efforts have helped to shine a light on a pattern of failures within the CPS in their handling of cases where complaints against police. In that light, we call upon the CPS and the DPP to initiate two inquiries:

First, an inquiry into the circumstances – including apparent failures of supervision and quality control – in which the original reviewing lawyer in this case was permitted to reach a decision which was so clearly and patently flawed, against the weight of all the evidence presented to him.

Secondly, and more generally, a more wide ranging inquiry into the handling of complaints against police within the CPS, to ensure that those tasked with the responsibility of upholding the rule of law and their decision making processes in relation to such complaints are fit for purpose.”

Separately, Newham Monitoring Project are also calling on Metropolitan Police Commissioner Hogan-Howe to install CCTV cameras in the back of police vans in Newham before the start of the Olympics to respond to the damaged community trust arising from this case. Sign the petition here.