IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts responds to criticism of the barring of press and public from disciplinary proceedings arising from the death of Olaseni Lewis
Your article (Police watchdog to hold misconduct hearing in secret over man’s death, 11 September), accused the Independent Police Complaints Commission of exploiting a legal “loophole” to hold police disciplinary proceedings “in secret”. Disciplinary proceedings for six Metropolitan Police officers accused of gross misconduct in their handling of a tragic situation in 2010 that culminated in 23-year-old Olaseni Lewis losing his life began on 11 September. As commissioner I have thought long and hard over every decision I have made throughout this investigation.
I directed that the Metropolitan Police hold these proceedings in August 2016. The proceedings themselves are owned by the force, not the IPCC. The family of Mr Lewis and their representatives, who have fought for years for answers about his death, will be present throughout. I recognise and understand their desire for these proceedings to be held in public, but I also had to consider that due to when the incident took place, the legal framework governing how such proceedings operate presumes they be held in private. This is not a legal loophole, it is simply the law as it stood at that time.