Socialist Worker

G4S guards face manslaughter charges over deportation death of Jimmy Mubenga

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2395

Jimmy Mubenga

Jimmy Mubenga


Three guards who worked for the G4S firm are to be charged with manslaughter over the death of Jimmy Mubenga during a forced deportation at Heathrow Airport in 2010.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today reversed its decision not to prosecute after an inquest into Jimmy’s death last year said he had been unlawfully killed.

Jimmy’s widow Adrienne Makenda Kambana, said after the news, “My children and I have waited a long time for this decision.  We hope the CPS will now move this case forward quickly. We feel like we are another step closer to getting justice for Jimmy.”

This is a major success for campaigners.

Jimmy was an Angolan who had lived in Britain for 16 years and all five of his children were born here. He was just 46 years old when he stopped breathing after “face-forward restraint” in his seat on a British Airways flight from London’s Heathrow airport to Angola.

When the CPS originally considered the case in 2012 it said it couldn’t mount a prosecution because there were “conflicting witness accounts” and because Jimmy’s “agitated” state during his restraint made a conviction unlikely.

The family’s lawyer Mark Scott said at the time he was “completely bemused” by the CPS decision.

The subsequent inquest tracked down and interviewed passengers from the flight to gain evidence about how Jimmy was restrained.

Passenger and cabin crew witnesses heard Jimmy shouting, “I can’t breathe” and “You’re killing me” during the 40 minutes the guards were restraining him.

Forced deportation has been privatised and was at the time carried out by G4S. Stuart Tribelnig, Terry Hughes, and Colin Kaler were the G4S guards escorting Jimmy.

The three are set to appear at Westminster magistrates court on Monday 7 April.

However the CPS has no plan to prosecute G4S, which employed and trained the guards, for corporate manslaughter. When the 2007 Corporate Manslaughter Act came in many campaigners hoped that it would make a difference to death in custody cases.

But it is a weak and ineffectual piece of legislation that makes it very hard to prove guilt.

The CPS says that such a case “would require evidence capable of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that a 'controlling mind' in the corporation - such as the chief executive officer - was personally guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.”


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