Operation Wheel – R. v. Sutherland

Operation Wheel was a five-handed conspiracy to murder case. It was alleged that a young man in the midlands had been “executed” by two hitmen, specially hired from Scotland, who shot him in the rear of his head at close-range.

The case is particularly interesting because it revealed the practice of the police installing covert recording devices in and around the custody areas of police stations in order to record conversations the various defendants had whilst in police custody.

When it became apparent that this had occurred an application was made to the High Court Judge conducting the trial to stay it as an abuse of process (in other words to halt the proceedings because they were so unfair).

The application succeeded as a result of the police malpractice and all defendants were acquitted on the direction of the Judge.