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Jean Charles de Menezes: court case starts

Issue No. 2071

A series of 'catastrophic' errors by police officers at all levels led to the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station, in 2005, a court has heard.

Prosecutor Clare Montgomery QC told the jury, 'You may think the fact the police ended up pointing a gun at another policeman and mistaking a terrorised tube driver for a terrorist gives you a clue as to just how far wrong the operation had gone.'

Surveillance officers had asked their superiors more than once if they should arrest Jean Charles but were told to wait, said Montgomery.

The Metropolitan Police are on trial for alleged health and safety failures which it is claimed 'invited disaster'. It denies the allegations.

Jean Charles de Menezes was followed by surveillance officers on to two buses and then down into Stockwell tube station.

CCTV images also showed armed officers, who did not know whether Jean Charles was the suspect, brandishing their weapons as they made their way down to the platform.

As they boarded the tube carriage, they were recognised by surveillance officers

as armed colleagues.

One of them pointed out Jean Charles.

But the armed police then turned their sights on a fellow officer, pressing a weapon to the his chest, as well as the driver of the tube train, who was stopped at gunpoint.

According to Montgomery, 'A series of failures by officers at all levels combined to put the public, including Jean Charles, at risk on July 22.

'Those risks were not trivial but grave and serious. There was fundamental confusion about what the operation involved and what the police were supposed to be doing.'

The trial continues.

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Article information

Tue 2 Oct 2007, 19:28 BST
Issue No. 2071
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