'Their decision effectively gives the police a licence to kill.' That was how Irene Stanley described the ruling by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Thursday of last week over her husband's death at the hands of police officers.
Two police officers shot Harry Stanley in September 1999 as he was walking home in Hackney, east London. The police claim they thought the chair leg Harry was carrying in a plastic bag was a shotgun.
The CPS has admitted the officers had been negligent and 'failed in their duty of care' towards Harry. This conclusion is in marked contrast to the CPS's original decision that Harry's death was a 'tragic accident'. The CPS was forced to review its decision after pressure from a protest campaign by Harry's family and supporters.
The family argued that the police officers' account of what happened did not match the facts. The family says there is evidence that Harry was holding up his hands in surrender when he was shot.
The CPS investigation did uncover scientific evidence that 'may provide some support for the conclusion that the police officers may have been inaccurate or even lied about their respective positions in the street'. Yet the CPS claimed last week that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against the officers.
Harry's family is furious that this decision means they still have not got justice.
Three officers will face 15 disciplinary charges for their involvement in planning the raid which led to James Ashley, an unarmed, naked man, being shot dead. James died after police raided his home near Hastings in 1998.