Watchdog to probe false name claim
Scotland Yard has called in the police watchdog over allegations that an undercover officer took part in a criminal trial under a false name.
Jim Boyling, a specialist operations Detective Constable with the Met Police, is accused of maintaining an alias throughout court proceedings after being arrested following a demonstration in 1996.
Scotland Yard said they have referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). A spokesman said the force is reviewing similar allegations about a retired officer, with a view to referring it to the IPCC.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police Service has this afternoon made a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to a serving MPS specialist operations Detective Constable.
"The referral relates to allegations that he gave evidence using a pseudonym and attended meetings with defence lawyers. The officer is currently on restricted duties. The MPS is reviewing similar allegations about a retired officer, with a view to referring it to the IPCC."
The allegations forced the postponement of the publication of a review of the future of undercover policing, which was scheduled for Thursday, and had been compiled by new Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe before he took the force's top job last month.
Defence solicitor Mike Schwarz, of law firm Bindmans, said he had discovered he represented Mr Boyling, under the name Jim Sutton, along with other protesters.
The undercover officer went on trial for public order offences with other activists from pro-cycling campaign group Reclaim The Streets following a demonstration at the headquarters of London Underground in 1996. The lawyer said the revelation raised concerns about the "confidentiality" of discussions between the officer's co-defendants and their legal representatives.
He told The Guardian: "This case raises the most fundamental constitutional issues about the limits of acceptable policing, the sanctity of lawyer-client confidentiality, and the integrity of the criminal justice system. At first sight, it seems that the police have wildly overstepped all recognised boundaries."
Activist John Jordan, who was convicted of assaulting a police officer and given a conditional discharge after being arrested with "Jim Sutton", is appealing against the verdict following the allegations. He said: "It was totally outrageous what happened. I'm a lecturer, I have a job where I'm working with students and to have assault of a police officer on your record was pretty difficult."