UK Liberty

de Menezes inquest resumes today

Posted in de Menezes, law and order by ukliberty on September 22, 2008

The BBC:

… A jury will hear from two officers who fired the fatal shots – the first time their accounts will have been heard.

Former High Court judge Sir Michael Wright has been appointed coroner for the hearing, set to last three months….

As the hearing opened, an internal memo from Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to his staff was leaked. [by him?]

In it, he says the inquest is the right place for the force to “account for” its actions, adding “Our approach will be one of humility.”

The inquest jury will consider whether or not Mr de Menezes was unlawfully killed.

They will hear from some 75 witnesses over three months, including 40 serving police officers who have been granted anonymity, and Tube passengers.

Among those who will be speaking for the first time will be policemen codenamed C2 and C12, the two specialist firearms officers who shot the Brazilian.

Some of the other officers giving evidence appeared at the Old Bailey trial, including surveillance officers accused of failing to establish whether or not the man they were following matched the description of suicide bomber Hussain Osman….

Mr da Silva said the police officers involved should not be allowed anonymity.

“Their images should be shown to the public so everyone knows who these inept policemen are.”

Well, hang on – as regular readers will know, I sympathise with the family and have criticised many aspects of this case, but the police are entitled to the presumption of innocence just as we all are.

An acquaintance said the officers shouldn’t be anonymous because other people suspected of unlawful killing aren’t given anonymity.  Well, firstly perhaps other suspects should be given anonymity, secondly the police are in a position rather different from other members of the public, one where there is a higher risk of reprisal and one where a lack of anonymity would compromise their work.

If they are proven to be murderers, or grossly negligent (manslaughter), fair enough, publicise their names if that seems a reasonable thing to do.  But I don’t think it’s reasonable at present to deny them anonymity.


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