A damning report into the suspected wrongful conviction of a former West Yorkshire police officer for assaulting a teenager in custody has been described by a senior official as the most “explosive” he has seen in nearly 30 years.
The Operation Lamp dossier into the case of Danny Major, who was convicted in 2006 for the assault at a Leeds police station, could now see West Yorkshire Police made subject to a criminal inquiry.
According to the Wakefield father-of-two’s representative, a senior Police Federation official, the failings highlighted in the report are so stark that in his view “one has to now question the motivation of the people involved”.
Mr Major was accused of attacking a drunken 18-year-old in custody at Millgarth police station in Leeds in 2003.
He and his family have campaigned to overturn his conviction since his release from prison in 2007.
The 500-page report is heavily critical of the investigation carried out by West Yorkshire Police’s professional standards department that resulted in Mr Major’s conviction after a re-trial.
This included potentially vital evidence not being disclosed to the defence team or being sent over too late.
Greater Manchester Police Federation’s chairman, Ian Hanson, who is representing the Major family, described it as being “an explosive report the like of which I have never seen in 28 years in policing”.
He added: “This is not just about the Major family but the wider community, if the police can do this to one of their own it will send rumblings throughout West Yorkshire.
“(In my opinion)...at best this is abject incompetence on a scale I have never seen before, at worst there could be criminal offences here. Any inquiry has got to establish where on that scale the failings apply.”
Mr Major’s case could now be looked at again by the CCRC, the body which investigates suspected miscarriages of justice, and West Yorkshire Police could be the subject of a fresh criminal investigation into conduct.
The report said the jury which convicted Mr Major would have based their decision on evidence set out by the prosecution that stated Mr Major pulled Sean Rimington out of a police van face first at the Bridewell custody suite in Leeds before punching him three times in the face.
The prosecution also claimed Mr Major later repeatedly punched the teenager in the face while he was handcuffed in a police cell. Mr Major denied both allegations.