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Mitting agrees to meet with core participants of spycops inquiry

SPYCOPS inquiry chair Sir John Mitting finally agreed to meet the victims of undercover police surveillance today.

Both Mr Mitting and his predecessor Sir Christopher Pitchford had previously turned down invitations to meet with core participants.

Sukhdev Reel, whose son Ricky died after a racist attack in 1997, met Mr Mitting on Thursday. She and the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence were spied on by the same Metropolitan Police officer.

The day after the meeting with Ms Reel, Mr Mitting said that such encounters were “likely to be helpful to enable me to understand views” of core participants.

During the hearing, Mr Mitting also addressed the mass walkout by core participants in March, which he said had led him to “seek to clarify the wishes and intentions of non-state core participants.”

Helen Steel, who was deceived into a relationship with an undercover Met officer using the identity of a dead child, stood up to clarify that the non-state core participants “feel that we can’t meaningfully participate … It is not that we don’t want to.”

Jonathan Hall QC, for the Met, addressed former spycops who are to give evidence, asking Mr Mitting to “please take account of their age, their health … and of course their wellbeing.”

According to the Met’s “back of an envelope estimate,” it holds around 118,000 pages of information on notorious spycop Bob Lambert, Mr Hall added.

Mr Mitting said that redactions to documents would only be made “to support anonymity orders and nothing else.”

Documents relating to David Hagan, who spied on Ms Reel and the Lawrence family, “do not create any requirement for large-scale redaction, possibly even none,” the inquiry chair added.

However, he said that documents relating to “deployments into animal rights groups,”, which he said were involved in “quite serious criminal acts,” may require redaction.

Oliver Sanders QC, for the former officers, drew heckles from the public gallery when he asked Mr Mitting to set a date by which allegations of spycop misconduct should be made.

One observer suggested that was “so you can get your lies straight.”

Mr Mitting refused, saying: “This is an inquiry into undercover policing, not into the members of the public who may have been affected by it.”

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