Thursday, October 23, 2014

Big coverup of police incompetence in Britain

Why is the death of this baby cloaked in secrecy? Judges ban details... then inquest lasts just seven minutes
The facts surrounding the suspicious death of a 13-month-old girl remain shrouded in official secrecy nearly two years on.

Judges have imposed a draconian order preventing details of the death of Poppi Worthington from being revealed.

Authorities have repeatedly refused to reveal any information about the circumstances in which Poppi died, despite a long-running police investigation.

During an inquest this week that lasted a mere seven minutes, a coroner simply ruled that the cause of her death was ‘unascertained’ and failed to disclose any other information.

The police investigation has led to the arrest of two people, including Poppi’s father Paul Worthington, 46, who was questioned on suspicion of sexually abusing his child.

No one has yet been charged as a result of the Cumbria Police inquiry, which continues.

But it can be revealed that the force itself is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over its response to the death.

An officer has been suspended after concerns that the force did not respond ‘properly and appropriately’. At the inquest on Tuesday, the coroner merely referred to a family court hearing held in private earlier this year and opted to rely on its findings.

A far-reaching injunction means that the media has been prevented from revealing various details about the case, including where Poppi lived or the hospital in which she died.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns for open justice in the family courts, said that the injunction could prevent wrongdoing by public bodies from coming to light.

‘The strict injunctions that sometimes apply in family court proceedings often act to protect public officials from allegations that they have not done their job properly rather than protecting a child,’ he said.

‘In this case, anonymity for the family may be reasonable – but why can we not know any more? A lot of these injunctions just protect people who receive a salary from being questioned.’

A serious case review, begun by the Cumbria Local Safeguarding Board in April, may eventually be made public.

Cumbria County Council said it had no involvement in Poppi’s life before her death on December 12, 2012.

During the inquest at Cumbria Coroner’s Court, coroner Ian Smith recorded an open conclusion. He acknowledged that the circumstances around the death were ‘unusual and strange’ but failed to elaborate on any aspects of Poppi’s brief life or death.

The inquest also appeared to be veiled in secrecy, with a listing for the hearing omitting Poppi’s name and instead referring to ‘a child aged 13 months’.

The opening of the inquest in February 2013 also took place in private, with no recording or transcript available. According to coroners’ rules, inquests should always be held in public unless exceptional matters of national security are involved.

Mr Smith said he was happy to rely on the findings of a judge in the High Court’s family division in June and did not need to go over the same ground.

The Daily Mail has joined other media organisations in arguing that there is a public interest in revealing how Poppi died and how authorities dealt with her.

Cumbria Police confirmed that a 30-year-old woman and 46-year-old man have been arrested and remain on police bail.

In a statement the force said: ‘Cumbria Police can confirm that an investigation is still ongoing into the death of a one-year-old girl who died in Cumbria on Wednesday, December 12, 2012.’

‘We can confirm that the constabulary has made a referral to the IPCC and they are conducting an investigation.

‘Currently a number of officers are subject of the investigation and one officer has been suspended.’

Original report here

UPDATE: Secrecy now partially lifted

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