THE Crown Prosecution Service twice made an untrue allegation about the Oxford Mail in court over its coverage of an Operation Bullfinch case.
In October last year, it instructed barrister Neil Moore to tell Oxford Crown Court Judge Patrick Eccles and Judge Mary Jane Mowat during hearings related to the Bullfinch child sex trafficking scandal that the newspaper had printed what would be prejudicial material, opening the paper up to a potential Contempt of Court action.
We are prevented from publishing further details about this by a court order, but following a formal complaint from the Oxford Mail, the CPS has now admitted the allegation was wrong, but has refused to write to either judge to retract the claims made in open court or confirm they were inaccurate.
In a letter to the Oxford Mail, deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Ruth Bowskill claimed the inaccurate information came from Thames Valley Police’s Operation Bullfinch team. CPS Thames Valley spokeswoman Louise Rosher also said in a statement the inaccurate information came from the force.
Detective Superintendent Joe Kidman, head of the Bullfinch inquiry, has said this is not correct.
Ms Bowskill also admitted the CPS had not bothered to check the stories in question before Mr Moore made the allegation to both judges.
She added: “I would accept that the information provided to Mr Moore was inaccurate and we have taken steps to ensure that this does not happen in the future.”
New Thames Valley Chief Crown Prosecutor Adrian Foster did not respond to requests for comment 11 days ago.
The Thames Valley department of the CPS was recently revealed to be one of the worst performing in the country.