Police 'admit secret recording' of Stephen Lawrence friend

Duwayne Brooks
Image caption Duwayne Brooks was with Stephen Lawrence the night he was murdered

The police have confirmed authorising the secret recording of at least one meeting involving Duwayne Brooks, the friend of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, his lawyer has said.

The BBC revealed recently that the Met Police had bugged meetings between Mr Brooks and his lawyer Jane Deighton.

Ms Deighton, after meeting the deputy prime minister, said she believed there was more than one instance of bugging.

Mr Brooks was with Mr Lawrence on the night he was killed in a racist attack.

Reports of the bugged meetings followed claims by former police officer Peter Francis that he was asked to find "dirt" on the Lawrence family in the years following the 1993 murder in Eltham, south London.

The home secretary ordered two existing inquiries to look at the claims made by Mr Francis.

'Immediate concern'

The Lawrence family, though, have called for a public inquiry into the allegations.

A senior police source told the BBC authorisation was given to record two meetings between Mr Brooks, his legal representatives and police officers from the investigation team.

Speaking outside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's offices after Friday's meeting, Ms Deighton said police had confirmed to her that at least one of Mr Brooks's meetings had been bugged.

"There was one matter of immediate concern to Duwayne and that's the allegations that... the police authorised the covert recording of his meetings with me and the police in my former offices.

"The deputy assistant commissioner of the police has confirmed that there are documents evidencing at least one such authorisation. We believe there are more."

Image caption Mr Brooks and Ms Deighton will meet the deputy prime minister for more discussions

The BBC reported that the bugged meetings were held in an interview room at the offices of Deighton Guedalla, in Islington, north London, in 1999 or 2000.

Ms Deighton said she had asked the deputy assistant commissioner for "immediate disclosure of the documents" regarding approval of the secret recordings.

"Those documents are ones that Duwayne really wants to see and he wants to see them now, and he sees no reason why he shouldn't see them now.

"Duwayne was also very pleased that the deputy prime minister has agreed to raise the issue of the immediate disclosure of those documents with the home secretary."

Ms Deighton said she and Mr Brooks - who is a Liberal Democrat councillor in the London borough of Lewisham - would meet Mr Clegg for more discussions next week to try to ensure the investigation into police misconduct would be one "that Duwayne himself had confidence in".

Ms Deighton told the BBC she believed the secretly recorded meetings were intended to brief Mr Brooks and his lawyers on the progress of the investigation into Mr Lawrence's murder, which was given new impetus in 1999 when Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve took over and when the Macpherson Inquiry was published into the murder case.

A senior Met detective also attended the meetings, and it is thought one or two other officers may have been present.

Mr Brooks was a witness for the prosecution at the Stephen Lawrence murder trials in 1996 and in 2011 and 2012.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were jailed for life in 2012 after being found guilty of Mr Lawrence's murder, 18 years after he was stabbed.

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