Ex CPS chief Nazir Afzal instructs lawyers to consider prosecuting PM

Ex-prosecutor Nazir Afzal who brought down Rochdale grooming gangs has instructed his lawyers to see if there is evidence to prosecute Boris Johnson for misconduct in public office as Covid-19 death toll passes 100,000

  • Nazir Afzal said he has instructed his lawyers to investigate the PM’s conduct
  • Boris Johnson today revealed that more than 100,000 Britons have died of Covid
  • Mr Afzal said his lawyers will look at Mr Johnson’s handling of the pandemic 
  • The former CPS chief said ‘we cannot wait 10 years for a public inquiry’  

The former CPS chief prosecutor of the north west who brought down a Rochdale child abuse gang has suggested Boris Johnson could face prosecution for misconduct in public office over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Mr Johnson, in his Downing Street address this evening expressed his regret that more than 100,000 had died of Covid-19. 

Nazir Afzal, the former CPS chief prosecutor in the north west said he believes the PM could face prosecution. 

Former CPS chief prosecutor of the north west Nazir Afzal, pictured, has instructed his lawyers to determine whether the PM could be investigated for misconduct in public office 

Mr Afzal released a Tweet earlier this evening after Mr Johnson apologised on the day Britain’s Covid-19 death toll passed the 100,000 mark

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured earlier today, addressed a press conference at Number 10 where he admitted more than 100,000 Britons have died of Covid-19

In a tweet this evening after Mr Johnson’s press conference, Mr Afzal wrote: ‘PM takes full responsibility for all decisions Govt have made.

‘We cannot wait 10yrs for public inquiry.

‘I have instructed my lawyers to consider whether anything he did or didn’t do amounts to gross negligence or misconduct in public office and what consequences should follow.’

 He wrote: ‘100,000 Covid dead and Boris Johnson has still not met with the family of any of bereaved, he hasn’t called for a day of remembrance or even a moment’s silence. 

‘We don’t matter. Invitations remain unanswered. 

‘We will support each other and give the dead a voice.’ 

Mr Afzal’s brother Umar died in April 2020 of Covid-19. 

He continued on Twitter: ‘Prime Minister says hundreds of NHS staff “gave their lives”. 

‘No, their lives were TAKEN.

‘We didn’t prepare. We put them in the line of fire without protection. 

‘They courageously stepped in but YOU let them down.’  

Mr Afzal posted a series of tweets which were critical of Mr Johnson and his government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis 

Sir Keir Starmer has accused Boris Johnson of being ‘behind the curve at every stage’ when responding to the pandemic as the Government’s figure for coronavirus deaths passed 100,000.

The Labour leader said the Prime Minister had shown a ‘reluctance to take tough decisions’ throughout the crisis as the UK exceeded the ‘awful milestone’ on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson told a Downing Street press conference that he is ‘deeply sorry for every life lost’ to Covid-19 but insisted  ‘we truly did everything we could’ to minimise loss of life and suffering.

Mr Afzal’s brother Umar, pictured, died of Covid-19 in April 2020

But Sir Keir argued that ministers were too slow in numerous aspects of the response: on imposing lockdowns, on delivering protective equipment, on testing and on limiting household mixing over Christmas. 

On Tuesday, the number of people who have died in the UK within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 passed 100,000.

But using the more comprehensive method of inspecting death certificates where coronavirus is involved, figures from statistics agencies show there has been more than 115,000 deaths.

Mr Afzal earlier wrote to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick about Dominic Cummings’ controversial trip to Barnard Castle during the first Covid-19 lockdown. 

Mr Afzal, whose brother Umar died from the virus on April 8, 2020 while isolating at home, said he was concerned police and prosecutors had not received all relevant information about the case so their decision-making would be incomplete. 

What is Misconduct in Public Office?  

Misconduct in Public Office is a common law offence which can only be prosecuted on indictment and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 

According to guidance produced by the Crown Prosecution Service ‘ It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.’

Prosecutors can target a public office holder with Misconduct in Public Office where there is ‘no relevant statutory offence’ but the behaviour or circumstances ‘should nevertheless be treated as criminal’. 

A public office holder can be prosecuted for their actions or in certain cases their failure to take appropriate action.  

According to the guidance produced by the Attorney General’s office: 

The offence is committed when:

  • a public officer acting as such;
  • wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself; 
  • to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder;
  • without reasonable excuse or justification.

 Source: CPS

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