After more than six months of legal wrangling at the Undercover Policing Inquiry, chairman Roger Mitting has agreed to release the real name of officer Anthony ‘Bobby’ Lewis to the women he abused while working as a spycop infiltrating the Stephen Lawrence campaign.
Lewis, listed as HN78 in inquiry documents, has previously admitted to maintaining a year-long relationship with activist ‘Bea’ during his deployment and of having a sexual encounter with ‘Jenny’. Both women will now be given his full identity.
“Bobby”, who was active from 1991 and infiltrated the Lawrence campaign in 1993, argued to the inquiry that his name should be put under injunction to stop ‘Bea’ from disclosing it publicly. Mitting rejected that she should be barred from doing so.
The officer, whose cover name was first released in July 2019, posed as a left-wing anti-racist activist to spy on the campaign to bring the Met police to justice over its handling of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence. The public outcry over the young man’s death led to the publishing of the MacPherson report in 1999, which described the Met as “institutionally racist.”
The Met has argued, in a seeming effort to mitigate the damaging implications of being seen to have gone after the family of a man killed in a racist attack, that they were primarily spying on left-wing activists within the campaign. “Bobby” was specifically targeting the Socialist Workers Party and Anti-Nazi League, attending protests but not interacting with the Lawrences directly.
However his deployment, along with two other officers, gathered “quite a lot” of information about the campaign according to investigating lawyer Mark Ellison, and the spectacle of an apparent infiltration of a campaign founded to investigate the force’s racism was a defining factor in Theresa May’s decision to open the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
The decision is part of a bundle of recent rulings from the inquiry, which includes a decision to grant core participant status to ‘Wendy’, who was manipulated and exploited by spycop James Straven as he infiltrated the hunt saboteurs on a five-year deployment between 1997 and 2002.
The inquiry has said that more than 1,000 groups were targeted by the Met’s disgraced undercover unit the Special Demonstration Squad, but only 83 are being looked into.
The official ruling can be found here.