(135)  The Chhokar inquiries

The reports of the two inquiries into the Chhokar murder case (see below Nos 88 and 94) were published on 24 October 2001.  Sir Anthony Campbell looked at the way prosecution decisions were made in the case and at whether individual or institutional racism had affected how decisions were made in the case.  His conclusions were (1) that the Crown was wrong to proceed against Ronnie Coulter alone initially; Ronnie Coulter and Andrew Coulter should have been indicted together with David Montgomery as a witness, although even if this procedure had been followed it would not necessarily have resulted in a conviction; and (2) that the internal systems of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service failed before the decision was made to indict Ronnie Coulter.  His recommendations included (1) a review of the internal prosecution systems for High Court matters; (2) a wider review, going beyond the internal systems of the Crown Office; (3) the setting up of a satellite Crown Office High Court Unit near the High Court in Glasgow, to service cases there; (4) efforts to ensure the continuity of responsibility for prosecution from the earliest stages of a case through to the trial; and (5) a need for more advocate deputes and legal staff.

Dr Raj Jandoo reported on the liaison arrangements between the police, the Crown office and procurator fiscal service and the relatives and partner of Mr Chhokar. He was also asked to consider and comment on racism and the police investigation of any racist motive for the crime. He concluded that (1) the police investigation was effective and efficient” in tracing and arresting suspects and gathering evidence; but (2) did not consider adequately the question of racist motivation in the crime; (3) further