Open verdict at Menezes inquest

The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict; it had already been forbidden from returning one of unlawful killing, the other option being one of lawful killing. Mr de Menezes was shot dead by armed police officers at Stockwell tube station on the 22nd of July 2005.

The coroner had asked the jury to consider a series of questions, the answers to which could be “Yes”, “No” or “Cannot decide:”
“Did firearms officer C12 shout armed police?” ANSWER: NO
“Did Mr de Menezes stand up from his seat before he was grabbed in a bear hug by officer Ivor?” ANSWER: YES
“Did Mr de Menezes move towards C12 before he was grabbed in a bear hug by Ivor?” ANSWER: NO

The also asked the jury to consider which of these other factors, if any, contributed to the death. The Jury were allowed to answer “yes”, “no” or “cannot decide”.
“The pressure on police after the suicide attacks in July 2005.” ANSWER: CANNOT DECIDE
“A failure to obtain and provide better photographic images of failed bomber Hussain Osman to surveillance officers.” ANSWER: YES
“The general difficulty in providing identification of the man under surveillance in the time available.” ANSWER: NO
“The fact that the views of the surveillance officers regarding identification were not accurately communicated to the command team and firearms officers. ANSWER: YES

“A failure by police to ensure that Mr de Menezes was stopped before he reached public transport.” ANSWER: YES
“The innocent behaviour of Mr de Menezes increasing suspicion.” ANSWER: NO

The fact that the position of the cars containing the firearms officers was not accurately known by the command team as firearms teams were approaching Stockwell Tube.” ANSWER: YES
“Shortcomings in the communications system between various police teams on the ground.” ANSWER: YES
“Failure to conclude at the time that surveillance officers could have been used to carry out the stop on Mr de Menezes at Stockwell.” ANSWER: YES

The police and the de Menezes family have very differing analyses of what the verdict implies with the family’s lawyer calling for the possibility of perjury by the police officers to be investigated. This suggestion has been rejected by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Acting Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said Mr de Menezes’ death had been a “most terrible mistake”, which he “deeply regretted”.
“He was an innocent man and we must accept full responsibility for his death,”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Anybody listening to the events as they unfolded on the days after the shooting could see/hear all the hallmarks of a coverup(overstatement of the risk, inconsistencies in the police story and eye witness accounts at variance with the police story) as we heard numerous times in Norn Iron.

    I know it is not right to say so and not really relevent – but I’ll say it anyway. When you hear the mother of someone who has been shot, from a country where the shooting of innocent kids is widespread, complaining about the police in a country like Britain where the police shoot vitrually nobody, there is the temptation to remind her of the situation in her own country.

  • Rory Carr

    “… complaining about the police in a country like Britain where the police shoot vitrually nobody,”

    Shouldn’t that be ” where the police shoot virtually nobody who matters very much“, Sammy? Or at least only to those who knew and loved them.

    The Met in particular have a pretty tasty record of “blooding” firearms officers merely, it seems, to get a bit of practice in every now and then. As the family of Harry Stanley, just down the road, discovered after he was repeatedly shot without reason, the cops never get called to account and suspicion grows as to the motives for the killing.

    In the Harry Stanley case rumor was widespread of a grudge shooting by the Hackney cops in retaliation for a long ago slight by the victim.

    In the case of Jean Charles de Menezes I prefer the simple “blooding” theory. The Met needed to be seen to be “doing something” and they also needed some real-time experience outside of simulation exercises for their new hot-shots. Any Muslim would do. One with “political” form even better. The annoying thing about de Menezes was that he was both ethnically and religiously “inappropriate” and media plants to demonise at least the fact of his “wogdom” with hints at drugs and an “anti-social” existence didn’t quite bite.

    Those of us who listened to witnesses of his killing almost immediately following upon it – passionate, clear-eyed, quietly spoken and ringingly true – only to find them completely “disappeared” in later news bulletins when the editors had gotten “on-message” and “on-side” are not surprised to learn of today’s verdict once we learned that these witnesses were brave enough to suffer police pressure yet bear witness in open court in the interests of truth.

    Even though it is pretty much accepted that jury lists in “important” cases come under extra scrutiny “in the public interest” it came as no real surprise, in this case at least, that the jury came to the conclusion that officers of the Metropolitan Police might well not tell the truth, the whole truth etc. while giving evidence under oath.

    After all even the most trusting of all we law-abiding Londoners these days can’t help but notice that just ever so occasionally an old-Etonian gets to head up the Tory Party. If an odd one of themmuns can do that, against all the odds, then, just posssibly, cops might, just every little once in a while, lie under oath to save their skins.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “Shouldn’t that be “ where the police shoot virtually nobody who matters very much”,

    I think the numbers are very low – unless they are not reported which I think is unlikely. Are you suggesting they shoot a lot of people?

    A fairly recent case was in Chelsea – hardly consistent with your line – “virtually nobody who matters very much” were you suggesting they were shooting the poor/immigrant/ethnics etc?

  • dub

    sammy,

    i fail utterly to see what the situation with regards to events completely unrelated to THIS PARTICULAR killing has to do with this poor man’s mother and your view of her. why on earth would you be tempted to say anything to her about such unrelated events? please enlighten us as to what exactly you would be tempted to say?? is the guilt or innocence of the police who pumped bullets into this man predicated on things that happen thousands of miles away? please elaborate on your remarkable theory… i’m sure the met would love to hear from you, as your quite novel defence would doubtless have proven decisive in this casee.

  • Mark McGregor

    And we never get to find out what the jury would have decided if they had had the full range of verdicts available without a member of the establishment declaring one option was not allowed.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    dub,

    dont go getting too precious for fecks sake.

    just re-read what I posted.

  • There can be no question how the jury would have decided if the coroner had not ruled unlawful killing out.

    I just hope that he is mistaken for someone like Osama bin Laden some day soon, and over-eager sharpshooters pump a good number of bullets into his head without any warning.

  • Mark McGregor

    Trowbridge,

    I hope you didn’t mean that. Now the kind of hopes I’d like to be carrying around in my head.

  • Rory Carr

    No, I certainly do not suggest, or believe, that numbers of police shootings are being under-reported. I do however see that what is not being addressed adequately in the mass media is the total lack of necessity which is apparent in the overwhelming majority of cases where citizens have been shot to death by police.

    The recent shooting of a lawyer in Chelsea does not contradict any claim of mine where I was “suggesting they were shooting the poor/immigrant/ethnics etc”, since I haven’t made such a claim (yet, at least, to be fair) but it does fit the profile of my “blooding” line of thought.

    The Chelsea widow, by the way, considers that the killing of her husband was neither necessary nor lawful.

    I would not necessarily contest that the numbers of police killings in England by firearms are “low” – it could be similarly argued that the number of uxoricidal episodes by King Henry VIII were similarly “low”. The question is, or ought to be, were they justified.

  • wild turkey

    ‘there is the temptation to remind her of the situation in her own country. ‘

    if there is a prize for the most pig ignorant self-absorbed bigoted white trash comments that have bubbled to the surface of slugger over the years, well sammy, i would be tempted to make a nomination on your behalf.

    but you know what SAMMY, I think it better to ignore the temptation

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    wild turkey,

    “pig ignorant self-absorbed bigoted white trash comments”

    take your political correctness and shove it up your hyperbole you great tuzzer.

  • veritas

    don`t know the details about what happened or who ordered what but any innocent death has to be lamented..

    that said, the police officers on the ground have to make split second decisions and in the aftermath of the bomb attacks in London everyone was in a heightened sense of anticipation and this was reflected in the actions of the Police on that particular day…

    Its a tough job and hopefully lessons will be learnt but the Police are the last line of defense in our democracy..

  • wild turkey

    ‘take your political correctness and shove it up your hyperbole you great tuzzer. ‘

    Fantasising again Sammy or just another exercise in astute analysis and profound expression?

    Anyway, thanks for proving the point.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Wild Turkey,

    astute analysis and profound expression?

    “pig ignorant self-absorbed bigoted white trash” lol

  • I have no trouble with my hopes, Mark McGregor, given this result from the inquest: “no coroner will allow the police to be held accountable.”

    For more, see this link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/13/jean-charles-de-menezes-verdict

    Since the police are able to do whatever it sees fit in dire circumstances, I think that coroners should be their first victims, starting certainly with the one who ruled this one.

  • blinding

    Well if nothing else does it not show how badly trained these police officers(is hit squad too strong)were.
    I do not believe that any suicide bomber has ever before been wearing such slimline clothing or without some sort of backpack.

    Have these police officers not been trained to have at least an element of doubt in their mind.

    Yes I do understand that this would take a braver type of officer.

    I would be interested to know the age and experience of the officers involved because the whole incident smacks of young and inexperienced men behaving without any thought.

    I myself would have great difficulty dealing with having done such a thing and if the officers are truly sorry then I also sympathise with them.

    It will be interesting to see in time if any of these officers take a case against the met for not having the correct training for such an incident.

    Finally how can an inquest investigating the death of an entirely innocent man in such circumstances not be able to suggest either negligence,incompetence.recklessness,bad training and so on.

    We must all remember that Jean Charles could have been you or me or a close relative.
    At the very least the police officers need much better training and need to be the bravest of the brave.

  • David

    Welll it was a bog cert that such a verdict would be given ! Will the cops be brought to justice for murder ? … some chance !!

  • 6countyprod

    The police made a mistake. The policemen involved were ordered to deal with a suspected Islamic terrorist. Remember, they (Muslims terrorists) were the ones who created the tension and fear in the first place.

    Where are the miles of newspaper print, and hundreds of blog posts, and thousands of photographs of the victims and families of the victims of 7/7 which preceded and precipitated this tragic event?

    I feel sorry for the family of the man who was shot, but his death was a direct result of Islamic terrorism.

  • runciter

    The police made a mistake.

    Presumably all the lies were a “mistake” too?

    Who bears responsibility for these “mistakes”?

    What price will they pay?

  • 6countyprod

    They made a mistake in shooting the guy. They also made a mistake in trying to cover it up. But the fact still remains; they were doing their job to protect the general public from Islamic terrorists who are hellbent on destroying us. The police and security services have I’m sure learned from their mistakes. Thank God for those willing to lay their lives on the line to protect us.

    Menezes death was a tragic error of judgement by the authorities. On the other hand, 7/7 was premeditated mass murder of the UK populace by Muslims who hate our way of life. What price will they pay?

  • runciter

    The police and security services have I’m sure learned from their mistakes.

    How can they learn from their mistakes when they refuse to admit the truth about their actions?

    On the other hand, 7/7 was premeditated mass murder of the UK populace by Muslims who hate our way of life.

    What have religious or cultural beliefs got to do with culpability?

  • 6countyprod

    What have religious or cultural beliefs got to do with culpability?

    Islamic extremists who want to force their beliefs on the UK used murder and mayhem on the streets of London to further their long-term objective of Muslim world domination. They are guilty of indiscriminate cold blooded murder of completely innocent people who just happened to be on public transport in the centre of London.

    They are no different from the republican/loyalist terrorists who blew up or shot innocent people in hotels, bars, restaurants and buses in NI. They are guilty of murder.

    Ken livingstone summed it up well when he said Mr de Menezes was the 53rd victim of the London bombings of 7 July

  • runciter

    Islamic extremists who want to force their beliefs on the UK used murder and mayhem on the streets of London to further their long-term objective of Muslim world domination.

    Does this justify the police murdering suspects?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Islamic extremists who want to force their beliefs on the UK…’

    Oh right so it had nothing to do with Britain’s activities in the middle east. Thanks for clearing that up !

  • 6countyprod

    The police need to have the authority and means to take out anyone who wants to commit mass murder. They just need to polish up their MO.

  • runciter

    The police need to have the authority and means to take out anyone who wants to commit mass murder.

    Apart from the fact that (a) there is no capital punishment in the British judicial system, (b) that an accused person is normally entitled to a trial before being sentenced, and (c) that people are normally prosecuted for actions rather than desires, I think the Menezes case should clearly illustrate the problem of allowing the police to execute whomever they want.

  • 6countyprod

    The police need to have the authority and means to take out anyone who wants to commit mass murder.

    Yes, a little ambiguous I suppose. The police need to have the authority and means to take out anyone who is in the process of attempting to commit mass murder. They made a mistake with Mr de Menezes.

  • RepublicanStones

    What about merely commiting murder then? By your logic someone would have been justified in killing these policemen before they killed Mr de Menezes. Your no doubt a fan of Frank Kitson.

  • runciter

    The police need to have the authority and means to take out anyone who is in the process of attempting to commit mass murder.

    Generally speaking, they do.

    The problem is that the law says that they should use minimum force. In other words, they can kill, but only if they have no other choice.

    If they have another choice and they decide to kill anyway, then that is an unlawful killing.

    In the case of Mr De Menezes, they clearly had such a choice.

  • 6countyprod

    they clearly had such a choice

    Runciter, so what is this choice you are suggesting that the police could use that would be effectice in stopping a determined suicide bomber?

  • runciter

    Runciter, so what is this choice you are suggesting that the police could use that would be effectice in stopping a determined suicide bomber?

    The problem is that the police had not established that the suspect was a suicide bomber, let alone someone who was on the verge of detonating a bomb.

    Both would have to be established before the police could argue that lethal force was justified.

    Not only did they not establish these things, but they subsequently lied about both De Menezes and their own actions on the day. Why would they do this if their consciences were clear?

    Personally, I would like to know what alternatives were examined by the police before they adopted this policy of executing suspects.