It’s not unheard of for an undercover police officer to become an agent provocateur, which can lead to dicey legal issues of entrapment. But it’s very rare for the same officer to then offer to testify for the defence, resulting in a dismissal of charges for the people he helped arrest.
That’s exactly what happened to Const. Mark Kennedy of London, who infiltrated a chapter of direct-action environmental group Earth First! in 2003. In 2009, 114 people were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass, with a plan to shut down a coal plant for a week. Many of those charges were dismissed; 20 people were sentenced to negligible sentences earlier this month. The case against the final six defendants was dismissed last week, when the protesters’ lawyer told the British press that Kennedy had converted to the activists’ cause and had offered them evidence that would help their case.
They claim Kennedy was a key organizer and major financier of not only this operation but many others. One of the protesters, Danny Chivers, told the Guardian: “We’re not talking about someone sitting at the back of the meeting taking notes. He was in the thick of it.” Prosecutors denied a link between the revelation and the collapse of the case.