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Police to take no action over Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches

Police have decided to take no action against Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown, after studying a 255-page dossier making the legal case for…

By admin , in England , at February 6, 2021 Tags:

Police have decided to take no action against Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown, after studying a 255-page dossier making the legal case for prosecution over his trip from London to Durham during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the former chief prosecutor for northwest England Nazir Afzal said that he will seek further avenues for bringing legal action against Boris Johnson’s ex-adviser.

Mr Afzal said it was “hugely disappointing but not surprising” that Durham Police decided to take no further action on the basis of the material he submitted, alleging offences against coronavirus regulations.

The dossier stated that the legal test had been met for prosecution over the trip by Mr Cummings and his journalist wife Mary Wakefield to his parents’ home last March, at a time when both believed themselves to be carrying coronavirus, and a later trip to beauty spot Barnard Castle, which Mr Cummings said was undertaken to test his eyesight before the journey back to London.

It alleged that claims made by Mr Cummings about his lockdown trip in a press conference in the garden of 10 Downing Street on 25 May had affected the course of justice.

But in a letter to Mr Afzal’s lawyers, Durham Police’s deputy chief constable Dave Orford said: “Durham Constabulary has considered your submissions and the allegations raised that are relevant to the force’s area of responsibility.

“We have considered all of the material provided. However, it does not change our decision from that outlined in our press release dated 28 May in respect of Mr Dominic Cummings, and we take a similar view in respect of his wife Mary Wakefield.

“We do not consider the relevant tests are made out in relation to any potential offences raised within your submission. Therefore, Durham Constabulary will be taking no further action.”

The earlier press release stated that Mr Cummings may have breached lockdown rules in his Barnard Castle trip on 12 April, but the force decided to take no further action. It made no finding on his decision to leave London for Durham, and said there was “insufficient evidence” to support an allegation that he travelled to Durham a second time on 19 April, which Mr Cummings denies.

In a video statement, Mr Afzal said: “I’ve read the decision and, to coin a phrase, I don’t understand it.

“It’s not clear whether the view of the Crown Prosecution Service was sought on our 225-page submission, which included new evidence, including witness evidence over the alleged third breach.

“I am now considering with my legal team what further avenues to pursue because millions of you would want me to.

“This is also going to form part of my recent decision to examine the legal implications of the whole extent of the Government’s failures on Covid.”

“I have spent a lifetime prosecuting cases without fear or favour. We are nothing without the rule of law and it applies to everybody or to nobody.

“When I learnt that one of the architects of the rules – and that’s what distinguishes him from others – rules that we all complied with to keep each other safe, rode a coach and horse through them and then his political masters decided to put a ring of steel around him, I had no choice but to take this further.

“All the research tells us that that one act diminished public confidence in lockdown.”

Addressing supporters who had helped crowdfund the effort, Mr Afzal said: “Justice takes time. I’ll carry on working for you.”

Mr Cummings left 10 Downing Street in December following an internal power struggle and is no longer an adviser to the prime minister.

He has always insisted he acted reasonably in driving north to be near his parents’ home at a time when he feared he and his wife may need help with childcare for their son.