UK Liberty

A comment I left elsewhere on an unanswered question from the H&S trial

Posted in de Menezes, law and order by ukliberty on November 5, 2007

[at Unspeak]

Murder is the unlawful killing of another where the intent is to cause death (or serious injury where death is virtually certain to result). Some homicides are lawful – in this case, the firearms officers would argue self-defence or the defence of others.

In order to have the firearms officers convicted of murder, the prosecution must be able to persuade a jury, beyond reasonable doubt, that the officers did not have an honest belief that lethal force was necessary.

Now, I don’t want to be dismissive of that issue, it is certainly important, but it’s not going to progress any further until after the inquest and the publication of Stockwell One. I think there is at least one other important issue that must be addressed, and it can be addressed without accusing anyone of criminal offences, but rather in an ‘intellectual’ way.

So, let’s accept for the sake of argument they formed this honest belief. We still have not been told how it was formed (perhaps Stockwell One will tell us). This of course would normally be tested in a murder trial.

This seems to be vital to me because we have been told that normal behaviour, such as getting off and on the same bus, using a mobile phone (calling and texting), manifesting nervousness, agitation, anxiety, and so on, after being manhandled by strangers and seeing men with guns, contributed to the death of de Menezes.

As the defence said,

He was shot because, when he was challenged by police [well, opinions differ about that, but let’s go with it for now – ed], he did not comply with them but reacted precisely as they had been briefed a suicide bomber might react at the point of detonating his bomb.

But would an innocent person be likely to react in that way?

This seems vital to the whole debate (has there been one?) regarding the ’shoot-to-incapacitate’ policy, because if innocent people react in the same way, more innocent people will be killed.

Yet I have not seen this question asked by any in the mainstream media, or by any politicians, or other ‘important’ people, and believe me I have been looking.


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