UK Liberty

de Menezes family protest

Posted in de Menezes, law and order by ukliberty on December 4, 2008

The Telegraph (also the Times):

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have staged a dramatic courtroom protest – minutes before jurors at the inquest into his death were sent out to consider their verdicts.

The innocent Brazilian’s cousins stood up in front of the jury and unveiled T-shirts displaying the message: “Your legal right to decide – unlawful killing verdict.”

Sir Michael Wright, the coroner, has already withdrawn from the jury the option of a verdict of unlawful killing. The 11 jurors will consider two outcomes: either that Mr de Menezes was lawfully killed or an open verdict.

Jurors looked on as Mr de Menezes’s three cousins – Patricia da Silva, Alessandro Pereira and Vivian Figueiredo – stood up and unzipped their jackets, revealing the message.

Flanked by a supporter, they walked towards the jurors, saying nothing, before leaving the courtroom while proceedings continued.

I must confess I have no knowledge of how jury directions work.  This particular decision seems wrong on the face of it but I am ignorant, so I would appreciate any tips my readers might have.

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2 Responses

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  1. David Mery said, on December 5, 2008 at 12:52 am

    The J4J Campaign posted some explanations of the inquest verdict process:

    http://inquest.justice4jean.org/2008/11/update-on-inquest-proceedings.html

    and

    http://inquest.justice4jean.org/2008/12/what-is-narrative-verdict-following.html

    Also http://inquest.justice4jean.org/2008/12/statement-by-de-menezes-family.html would seem to indicate that the jury can give the verdict it want even if contrary to instructions from the coroner. Some independent confirmation of this technical point would be interesting.

    br -d

  2. ukliberty said, on December 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    A bit more info here:

    In his legal ruling to the jury, the coroner said they must dismiss unlawful killing as an option and consider first a verdict of lawful killing. To find that De Menezes was lawfully killed the answer to two questions had to be yes: was there an honest belief, albeit mistaken, that he represented an immediate mortal danger and threat; and was the force used no more than was reasonable in the circumstances. Wright said that if the answer to these questions was no they should record an open verdict.

    Um, surely it is an unlawful killing if the answer to the two questions is no.

    I’d be grateful for any information!


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