New tapes could delay final report

The final report of the public inquiry into the murder of Asian young offender Zahid Mubarek could be delayed if potentially valuable evidence is not submitted in time.

The inquiry is waiting for the Commission for Racial Equality to hand over 53 tapes allegedly containing witness interviews from the CRE’s investigation into Mubarek’s murder from 2000 to 2003.

The tapes went missing during the CRE probe and resurfaced a fortnight ago. It is believed they were sent to the public inquiry anonymously.

The inquiry gave the tapes to the CRE for verification and is waiting to see if the contents can be made public. At the formal close of the inquiry last week, chair Justice Keith said there could be further public hearings “if and when” the CRE tapes were transcribed.

An inquiry spokesperson said this week that it was “imperative” that the CRE informed the inquiry of the contents of the tapes “as soon as possible.”

He added: “The longer the inquiry has to wait, the more it is going to affect the overall timetable for producing the final report. The Mubarek family and the public will want the report to be handed over to the home secretary without delay.”

Justice Keith has already begun writing the final report and plans to submit it to the home secretary in February 2006.

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