Durham police assessing file on Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip

Durham police have confirmed for the first time they are assessing a dossier from a former senior prosecutor that says Dominic Cummings should face charges over his account of his movements during lockdown.

Matthew Weaver www.theguardian.com

For months Durham constabulary has refused to investigate the prime minister’s former chief aide beyond the three-day inquiry it conducted in May. But on Friday it said officers were examining new evidence submitted in a 225-page dossier more than a month ago.

The documents, compiled by lawyers for the former north-west chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, allege that Cummings perverted the course of justice in relation to his Downing Street rose garden statement about his journeys to the north-east of England in March and April.

The Met police, which also received the dossier and was urged to investigate, told Afzal’s lawyers that the issues raised were matters for Durham constabulary – “notably the allegation of perverting the course of justice”.

Durham police has not ruled out charging Cummings for perverting the course of justice. A spokesman for Durham constabulary said: “A report was submitted to Durham constabulary at the end of October and we are continuing to consider its contents.” It is understood that a senior investigating officer has been appointed.

This marks a change in approach from the force, which had said nothing publicly about Cummings since a 391-word press release issued on 28 May following a three-day investigation in to Cummings’s movements.

That statement said Cummings may have breached lockdown rules by travelling to Barnard Castle on 12 April, but the force decided to take no further action and it made no finding on his decision to leave London for Durham.

At the time the force also said there was “insufficient evidence” that Cummings travelled to Durham a second time on 19 April, as initially one witness told the Guardian and the Mirror. In his rose garden statement Cummings claimed he had evidence that proved he was in London that day. Boris Johnson told MPs that he had seen that evidence, but No 10 has refused repeated requests to release it.

In August the Guardian and the Mirror revealed that four people had claimed seeing someone they believed to be Cummings in woods near Durham on the morning of 19 April. They included Dave and Clare Edwards, who gave statements to the police about the sighting at the same time Cummings was giving his rose garden statement.

The submissions from Afzal’s lawyers said Cummings’ account appeared to have influenced Durham constabulary’s initial investigation. It included statements from witnesses, including the Edwardses, which questioned the conclusions of Durham police about Cummings’ movements. It also included statements from at least three people in Barnard Castle, which raised doubts about Cummings’ claim that he was only there for 15 minutes and strayed no more than 15 metres from his car.

The dossier also accuses Cummings and his wife, Mary Wakefield, of multiple offences under the coronavirus regulations for leaving their primary home in London and their second home in Durham without, it says, a reasonable excuse.

Afzal said: “It appears that, to their credit, Durham police have taken seriously the evidence and allegations contained within our report, including the very serious allegation that he perverted the course of justice. We remain concerned that nobody should be above the law and police and prosecutors should follow wherever the evidence takes them.”

Last month Cummings resigned as Boris Johnson’s chief aide, following an internal Downing Street feud about his influence.

Dominic Cummings has been contacted for comment.

5 thoughts on “Durham police assessing file on Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip

  1. And here is the Guardian’s take on Boris Johnson’s legacy to Britain.

    “Johnson has used his parliamentary majority, and the Conservatives’ innumerable business and media friends, to systematically relieve us of our democratic checks and balances, and even our freedoms. … he has used hundreds of statutory instruments (which allow him to evade parliamentary scrutiny), and introduced a judicial review, aimed at denying access to the courts for those who wish to challenge the government, and giving the prime minister the power to appoint judges” (thus making the courts political and destroying the separation of the executive and the judiciary which is fundamental to democracy) “… a power grab on a scale unseen in this country for 400 years … We may soon want to protest but find even our rights to do that have been curtailed … ours will be a country where only the strongest and richest prosper, and where those outside their circle eventually realise the depth of the corruption of our country, and how much has been stolen by this invisible mugger.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/09/boris-johnson-britain-corruption-cronyism-checks-balances

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  2. Yes, if the public demand that justice be done, they risk seeing the punishment of those that are trying to uphold the law.
    “Form a square around the pritster, psychopath, fleecer, in fact any-chum-of the Tories” should have been in their manifesto.
    Johnson more like Trump by the day.
    Arrogance and lunacy. A dangerous combination.
    Who will save us?

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  3. I thought the Police should investigate and the CPS prosecute “without fear of favour”.

    It is EXTREMELY worrying that apparently the police were only prepared to investigate once Dominic Cummings was no longer a Special Advisor to the PM – as that gives the impression (RIGHTLY or wrongly) that Government Ministers and Special Advisors are above the law and untouchable.

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    • Wait ‘t’till the CPS decide whether or not it is in the public interest to charge him!
      Regardless of the actual breaches of the law he and his wife may have committed, they bear a responsibility for the present ‘cummings defence’, the total disregard government and a large section of the population have for the law, an attitude which will have led to deaths

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    • It is clearly NOT in the public interest to charge Cummings because even if he is guilty, and even if the “cummings defence” is costing lives, it is clearly not in the “public interest” (by which I mean “Tory interest” – and since they are the government the Tories believe – and insist that others believe – that Tory interest is the same as Public interest) to prosecute when it will cause personal embarrassment to Boris Johnson, who may well then have a childish knee-jerk angry personal reaction and take it out on the police or police chief superintendent or police commissioner etc. in a very Trumpian way.

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