Socialist Worker

Legal team calls for accountability in Jean Charles de Menezes case

Issue No. 2050

The legal team for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes have issued the following press release regarding the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) decision not to put any of the officers involved before a disciplinary tribunal.

The decision announced today by the IPCC not to bring disciplinary charges against 11 of the 15 officers served with Regulation 9 notices is premature and made in spite of strong representations against such a decision by the family’s legal team.

The family are again gravely disappointed that exculpatory decisions are being made about officers directly responsible for the killing of an innocent man before they have had full access to the evidence and before any of that evidence has been tested in court.

In our experience it is highly unusual for such decisions to be made prior to the conclusion of any criminal and inquest proceedings. We can see no advantage in making this early announcement, other than to provide relief to the officers facing potential disciplinary charges. Whilst the officers are spared that ongoing anxiety, the family are given no relief to their own agony, grief and anxiety caused by their lack of access to all the evidence surrounding the shooting of their loved one.

In response to a request for our views on this proposed decision, Birnberg Peirce made representations to the IPCC that such an announcement was premature because:

  1. We do not share their views that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction at a disciplinary tribunal of any officer and believe there is a prospect of further evidence coming to light during ongoing proceedings which may indeed strengthen grounds to bring disciplinary charges
  2. We are concerned that if evidence emerges at a later stage to support disciplinary decisions then an announcement made now can be used as an argument by officers that a later contrary decision was an abuse of process
  3. We are concerned that any announcement made now could prejudice the family’s application to the House of Lords for a review of the decision by the CPS not to bring criminal charges against any individual officer

It is noted that the IPCC make no announcement in respect of the four most senior officers responsible for the disastrous errors that took place on 22 July 2005. It remains our view, central to our application to the House of Lords that there are grounds to support gross negligence manslaughter criminal charges against those officers.

We hope ultimately that all the officers about whom evidence emerges of wrongdoing that led to this wrongful death are ultimately rendered fully accountable.

Harriet Wistrich, for Birnberg Peirce and family of Jean Charles de Menezes

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Fri 11 May 2007, 12:26 BST
Issue No. 2050
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