UK Liberty

Early in the Menezes inquest and little information is new

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on September 25, 2008

A refresher from the coroner, via the BBC:

Taking the inquest jury through events leading up to the electrician’s death, Sir Michael listed a number of occasions where officers were unclear whether or not they thought they were pursuing a bomber.

He told them of differences between what was being relayed on radio and logged in the Scotland Yard control room – and how officers were interpreting the information.

Sir Michael said that as Mr de Menezes entered the Tube at Stockwell, no member of the surveillance team had positively identified him as Hussain Osman, one of the four 21/7 bombers they were hunting.

Turning to the decision of the two marksmen to shoot, Sir Michael said they had jointly fired nine rounds, seven of which entered the Brazilian’s head at point blank range.

“Both officers state that they were convinced that Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber, that he was about to detonate a bomb, and that unless they prevented him from doing so, everyone in that carriage was going to die,” said Sir Michael.

“Each officer says that he was convinced that an instant killing was the only option open to him.

“Mr de Menezes was killed instantly. He could hardly have had an opportunity to appreciate was happening.”

This begs the question, what convinced them he was a threat such that lethal force was necessary? (something I have been banging on about for over three years).  We will hear from them later in the inquest.

Hearing this evidence will be interesting – what can constitute an honest belief?

It also begs the question, why didn’t the surveillance team kill de Menezes?  Was it because they thought he was not such a threat? If so why not?

This, via the Telegraph, is interesting:

[Deputy Assistant Commissioner] Mr McDowall also admitted that he was not aware, when he decided to send firearms and surveillance teams to the scene, that 21 Scotia Road was a block of flats and not a single residency.

Fair enough, I’m not sure how they could quickly would know what sort of building it was – they would need to send someone there or check with the Land Registry or council, and I don’t know how long that would take.  But they were watching the address because it was a on a gym membership card found in the rucksack of one of the 21/7 bombers.  Did the address simply say 21 Scotia Road, or did it say something like Flat N, 21 Scotia Road?

[it was the gymnasium that told the police the address of the cardholder, Hussain Osman, see page 38 of the first transcript.]

Well, whatever; the real issue here is why he died – why they thought he was a threat such that lethal force was necessary.

Update

Since writing the above I’ve read some of the transcripts.  There seems to be quite a bit of detail that wasn’t previously made public – well, not via the media, anyway – so I feel a bit of a fool.

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2 Responses

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  1. David Mery said, on September 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Transcripts are available on the coroner’s website at http://www.stockwellinquest.org.uk/hearing_transcripts/index.htm

    The family has a site dedicated to the inquest at http://inquest.justice4jean.org/ (they’re asking those who can to attend the inquest in person).

    br -d.

  2. ukliberty said, on September 25, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks David!


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