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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Barnard Castle trip in the news again

Just when we thought that Dominic Cummings' illicit trip to Barnard Castle in the middle of a pandemic lockdown has dropped off our radar along comes a former crown prosecutor to reignite the controversy.

The Independent reports that lawyers acting for Nazir Afzal OBE, the former chief crown prosecutor for northwest England, have sent authorities a dossier accusing the prime minister’s chief adviser of breaking coronavirus laws and perverting the course of justice:

The documents argue that there is sufficient evidence for Mr Cummings and his wife, Spectator commissioning editor Mary Wakefield, to be charged.

In a statement, Mr Afzal’s lawyers said there was evidence of six offences under the Health Protection Regulations for Mr Cummings and three for Ms Wakefield.

“It also concludes that the test [for bringing charges] appears to be satisfied in relation to one offence of perverting the course of justice, that arises from Mr Cummings’ statement in the Rose Garden in Downing Street on 25 May,” it added.

At a press conference, the adviser said he had travelled to Barnard Castle to see if he could drive safely because he was experiencing problems with his eyesight.

Mr Cummings said he returned to London with his family on 13 April, and did not return to County Durham.

Mr Afzal’s lawyers alleged that some of his assertions were inconsistent with accounts obtained from witnesses, and called for police to check CCTV, location data and traffic cameras.

New witness statements and other material was sent on Friday to the director of public prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police.

Mr Afzal, whose brother died of coronavirus earlier this year, accused Durham Constabulary of carrying out a “cursory and incomplete” initial investigation.

This is yet another test as to whether there is one rule for us and another for government officials.
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