Independent investigation begins following wrongful conviction of Andrew Malkinson
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has begun an investigation as a result of its review into the way Greater Manchester Police handled complaints from Andrew Malkinson’s legal team.
Mr Malkinson, who served 17 years in prison for rape, had his conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal in July this year.
We looked at Greater Manchester Police’s handling of a complaint containing an allegation regarding the failure to retain items of evidence, as well as the alleged failure to reveal information relating to two witnesses who gave evidence at Mr Malkinson’s trial.
Our casework team highlighted significant issues with GMP’s investigation into the complaints and identified several outstanding lines of inquiry. As a result, we have begun an independent investigation into the allegations.
IOPC Director of Operations Amanda Rowe said: “My thoughts are with Mr Malkinson, who has suffered greatly as a result of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.
“Given our concerns over GMP’s handling of the complaints – and the significant public interest in a case that led to a man spending 17 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit – our involvement will ensure there is thorough scrutiny of the actions of police involved.
“Our investigation, which will be carried out independently of the police, will focus on the specific allegations raised in Mr Malkinson’s complaints. We are not reviewing the original criminal investigation, nor do we have the power to do so.
“We are in contact with the Government about its broader inquiry into the wrongful conviction. We will continue to work with the chair and inquiry team so that our work and theirs is aligned to ensure that the actions of GMP are fully examined.”
Mr Malkinson was arrested in 2003 and convicted of rape in 2004. He was released on licence in 2020 and his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in July this year.
We received a referral from GMP in November 2020 following a complaint concerning the loss, and presumed destruction, of items of clothing that had been stored as evidence in the case. We instructed GMP to carry out an investigation. At that time there was no conclusive evidence that the actions of police had harmed the administration of justice.
We received a further referral in February 2022 following a complaint that GMP had failed to disclose the criminal histories of two key prosecution witnesses at Mr Malkinson’s trial. We instructed the force to include this as part of its ongoing investigation, which was at an advanced stage at that time, to avoid considerable further delays.
In March 2023, we received a request to review GMP’s handling of these complaints. Our casework staff found the allegations relating to the handling of evidence and disclosure of information about witnesses were not dealt with in a reasonable and proportionate matter.
As a result, we have informed Mr Malkinson’s representatives and GMP that further investigation into the complaints is required, and that this will be carried out by us.
Our review also looked at GMP’s handling of a third allegation, concerning correspondence that was not passed to the addressee. We found the outcome and steps taken to remedy the concern raised were reasonable and proportionate. As a result, this will not form part of our investigation.
We also upheld a second review, received in April 2023, challenging GMP’s decision not to investigate a further complaint regarding the disclosure of information about a witness. We determined further inquiries into the allegations were required and this will form part of our investigation.