Ibori’s Lawyer Gets £20,000 For Wrongful Detention | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ibori’s Lawyer Gets £20,000 For Wrongful Detention

Posted: Jul 24, 2016 at 4:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The legal twist in the prosecution of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, by the British police has cost the Crown Prosecution Service a further loss, having to pay his solicitor $20,000, about six million naira, in settlement claims that he was wrongfully detained.

Bhadresh Gohil received the money from the Crown Prosecution Service after claims he was wrongly deprived of his liberty. The extraordinary payment is just the latest twist in a legal case that has led to investigations into allegations of police corruption and a cover-up of key evidence.

The Crown Prosecution Service had abandoned a planned trial in January this year amid defence claims that crucial evidence of alleged police corruption had been covered up.

In May this year, the CPS acknowledged that it had intelligence that “supports the assertion” that a Metropolitan Police officer was paid for information.

Detective Sergeant McDonald, who had headed the Ibori investigation, was then removed from the National Crime Agency’s International Corruption Unit, where he had been on secondment.

Former solicitor Gohil was expecting to be released from prison on bail last November, having served half his sentence for fraud and money laundering. But less than a week before the release date, prosecution barrister Sasha Wass QC applied for bail to be revoked.

Gohil’s defence team argued in a bail hearing that the prosecution had “manipulated dishonestly and in bad faith” the process by repeatedly telling the court that unconditional bail was unopposed.

At the same hearing, Sasha Wass told the judge that she had made it plain that the Crown “would be seeking to review bail when the halfway point of Mr Gohil’s sentence arose”.

“The defence were on notice that the question of bail would be revisited,” the CPS prosecutor told the court.

The Crown Prosecution Service has now agreed to pay Gohil £20,000 “in full and final settlement” of claims that he was unlawfully detained for 33 days between 20 November and 22 December 2015.

Bail was finally granted just before Christmas. However, the CPS states that it “makes no admission of liability or of any wrongdoing” by its staff or counsel instructed by the service.

A payment of £20,000 in a case where an individual is deprived of his liberty for 33 days as a result of claims of misconduct by the Crown is significantly higher than might be expected for “basic damages”.

While in prison, Gohil anonymously sent documents to the authorities which purported to show police officers investigating James Ibori had accepted bribes from private detectives hired by the man they were pursuing. Following a £1m investigation by Scotland Yard’s Department of Professional Standards, Gohil was accused of forging the documents and subsequently charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Prosecutors alleged that he had faked the documents to try to get his conviction overturned on appeal.

A review of Detective Sergeant McDonald’s status was initiated and the Metropolitan Police has confirmed that the review has been completed and the officer has now been deployed to an operational post in its specialist crime and operations unit.