UK Liberty

de Menezes jury delivers open verdict

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on December 12, 2008

Which seems to mean they reject that he was lawfully killed. 

The BBC:

The jury at the inquest into the mistaken shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict.

Two officers shot Mr de Menezes seven times as he sat on a train at Stockwell Underground station, south London. They thought he was a suicide bomber.

The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for a week.

A solicitor for the Menezes family said it was the best verdict they could hope for, given that unlawful killing was not on offer.

The jury of 10 were asked 12 specific questions about whether or not a series of events on 22 July 2005 contributed to the 27-year-old’s death.

A majority of the jury said that they did not believe officers had shouted “armed police” before opening fire.

They said said they believed Mr Menezes had stood up from his seat before being shot. However they did not believe he had moved towards the first officer to open fire.

Mr Menezes’ family had earlier withdrawn from the inquest after the coroner told the jury they would not be able to return a verdict of unlawful death at the hands of police.

Sir Michael Wright, the coroner at the three-month-long inquest held at the Oval Cricket Ground in London, said the facts did not justify allowing the jury to consider an unlawful killing. …

And the BBC on the jury’s answers to the coroner’s questionnaire.

The Telegraph:

After a three-month hearing, jurors rejected the idea that the innocent Brazilian had been killed lawfully by police and returned an “open verdict”.

In answering a series of questions set by the coroner they dismissed the accounts of firearms officers who claimed they had shouted a warning before shooting Mr de Menezes.

The 27-year-old electrician was shot dead in July 2005, on a Tube train at Stockwell Underground station, after being mistaken for a suicide terrorist who had attempted to bomb the London transport network the previous day.

Jurors criticised the operation for failing to use better photographs of the suicide bomb suspect which could have helped with his identification.

They said it was a police failure that Mr de Menezes was not stopped before he reached public transport.

Other factors which led to his death included shortcomings in communications between police units on the ground, and a failure of commanders at Scotland Yard to have an accurate picture of what was happening.

The jury, which deliberated for seven days, rejected the suggestion that Mr de Menezes’s “innocent” actions had in some way increased suspicions of police. …

The coroner had directed them to find an open verdict only if they rejected that the two marksmen who shot dead Mr de Menezes, “were acting in lawful defence of themselves or others” having “honestly although mistakenly” believed that he was a suicide bomber. …

The Times:

The inquest jury examining the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict – refusing to accept the idea that he was lawfully killed in a fast-moving anti-terrorist operation.

The jurors also answered a series of questions about the circumstances of Mr de Menezes’s death on board a Tube train at Stockwell, South London, in a way which rejected much of the account of the shooting given by police firearms officers.

The Guardian on dramatic scenes toward the end, and apparently the family want a judicial review.

The Independent says Kratos has been dropped (although I must say that other Operations continue to exist!) and that 

Some officers see the continuing row over conferring on notes in the aftermath of high-profile incidents as an example of how they are increasingly considered as potential suspects and not witnesses.

Well, if I was to commit a prima facie unlawful killing, or even if I witnessed one, I wouldn’t be allowed to confer with other people.  Police are supposed to be members of the public.

Also the Independent says that,

Firearms bosses at Scotland Yard are openly angry over the way two elite marksmen were “vilified” during the Menezes inquest.

Of the catalogue of errors highlighted at the Oval cricket ground in south London, some officers insist that C2 and C12 had little option but to shoot Jean Charles de Menezes.

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