29 Aug 2009

Report on how Blair Peach died believed imminent

4:54 pm on 29 August 2009

The police in London are refusing to confirm whether a report into the death of New Zealander Blair Peach 30 years ago is about to be released.

Britain's Sky TV reports that a legal review has found no reasons why the report into the death of the Napier schoolteacher cannot finally be released, and that publication is imminent, though some sections may be deleted.

Mr Peach died after receiving a blow to the head during an anti-fascist demonstration in the London suburb of Southall in 1979.

The findings of a police investigation into his death, widely thought to name a member of the Special Patrol Group as responsible, have never been released and no charges have been brought.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson has refused to comment to Radio New Zealand on whether Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has now received legal advice that there is no impediment to the report's release.

No reason not to release it - brother

Mr Peach's brother Roy says that even if the report is published in its entirety, the family will never know exactly what happened.

Roy Peach, who some years ago was allowed access to a part of the report, says the family will never be sure of its accuracy because of allegations between police officers.

A senior police officer is reported to be contacting those involved in the incident to ask if they want anything taken out of the report, which Mr Peach says is unsatisfactory.

"I can't think of any reason why the report should not be released even if there are some people named who do not like it," he says, "because the report itself is not proof of any particular allegation.

"All it does is cover the fact of the allegation having been made."

Sir Paul Stephenson has previously said that the report will be released unless there are overwhelming reasons not to.