UK Liberty

Health and Safety 16 – blame the victim part II

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on October 18, 2007

What relevance is this?

Earlier, Mr Thwaites cross-examined immigration official Paul Roach over a counterfeit stamp found in the Brazilian’s passport, asking if this meant he had been in the country illegally.

Mr Roach told the court Mr de Menezes first entered the country on 13 March 2002 and was given six months’ leave to remain, before extending his stay, as a student, to 30 June 2003.

The next record was of him arriving in Ireland from France on 23 April 2005 but there was no notification of when he returned to the UK.

The court heard how as a person entering Britain from Ireland, he would have had an automatic three-month leave to remain which at the earliest would have run out on 23 July, the day after he was killed.

A counterfeit stamp found on his passport may only have been added after he entered the UK, Mr Roach said. (the BBC)

It is a shame we don’t get to see the full transcript of the day, because I really want to understand the relevance of this to the case for the defence.

Are they suggesting that de Menezes was behaving suspiciously because he was here illegally (and had recently consumed cocaine), and this compounded the idea that he was a lethal threat in the minds of the firearms officers?

Or is it just implicit – the jury draws its own, hopefully unfavourable conclusions.

Because as far as I can tell from the media reports, no-one has said they thought he was behaving suspiciously except for when he got off and on the same bus. [ah, see update section below]

But, assuming that he even did behave in a manner that looked suspicious, what difference does it make, knowing that he was “negatively identified within minutes“?

In other words, they followed this man, knowing he wasn’t Osman, the wannabe suicide bomber from the previous day, the man they were after, Gold Command knew he wasn’t Osman, but somehow he became a lethal threat regardless.

And that’s what this trial is about – the alleged failures in the Met’s responsibility toward de Menezes (and by extension the rest of us).

Update

The Daily Mail has this additional bit of info:

Earlier, the judge challenged him over his line of questioning on Mr de Menezes’s immigration status.

The barrister cross- examined immigration official Paul Roach over a counterfeit stamp found in the Brazilian’s passport, asking if that meant he was in the country illegally.

But the judge later told the QC: “He is a member of the public who is entitled to the protection of the Health and Safety at Work Act whatever his status, is he not?”

Mr Thwaites said: “I don’t think that is relevant.”

The judge said: “I wondered what the inquiry was about”, to which the police force’s barrister replied: “I’ll make it clear in due course.”

The officers described de Menezes’ behaviour earlier:

The court had previously been told that officers following Mr de Menezes described his behaviour as “nervous and twitchy”, which contributed to his mis-identification as a possible suicide bomber. (The Telegraph)

Was he nervous and twitchy because he thought he was being followed?

Did he become a lethal threat because of the firearms briefing and failure in communications?

After the 7.45am briefing at Leman Street police station near Aldgate, east London, the [firearms] team drove to a base about two miles from Scotia Road. There they were briefed by the “Silver Commander” between 8.45am and 9.15am — just 18 minutes before Mr de Menezes left his flat.

Miss Montgomery [for the prosecution] said: “The individuals were described to the firearms team as being ‘deadly’ and ‘up for it’. They were also told that explosives could easily be concealed about the body and detonated.”

The court heard the briefing was “wrong in crucial details” because the officers were wrongly told that people had been stopped leaving the flat and eliminated from inquiries. Within minutes of the briefing, the team were told the possible suspect was on a bus towards Stockwell.

But CCTV shows they only began driving there after Mr de Menezes got off the bus, the court heard. During this time, Ralph [firearms team leader] said he received radio confirmation that Mr de Menezes was definitely “our man”.

Ralph then got a message saying the suspect had to be stopped from entering the station.

“Ralph understood from this that they were required to intercept Jean Charles and detain him if possible,” said Miss Montgomery.

She said that by letting a man thought to be a suicide bomber get on the bus and head to the tube station, “the police were creating a situation where there was a real probability that in order to stop him safely they were going to have to shoot him”. (The Telegraph)

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