Friday, December 05, 2008

De Menezes family mounts silent protest in front of inquest jury.

A jury looking at the killing of Jean Charles De Menezes have been told that they will not be allowed to return a verdict of unlawful killing. The explanation:

Earlier this week the coroner, Sir Michael Wright, told the jury he was not going to allow them to consider unlawful killing as one of their verdict options. He said unlawful killing was tantamount to accusing an individual or individuals of murder or manslaughter and was not a verdict that would be available to them.

He also said it was not available should they consider that the death occurred as a result of a series of decisions and mistaken beliefs on the part of the Metropolitan police as an organisation. He left the jury with two verdicts to consider: lawful killing and an open verdict.

That's some choice, eh? Lawful killing or an open verdict.

Not surprisingly the family of Jean Charles De Menezes walked out wearing T-shirts which stated, "Unlawful killing, your legal right to decide."

No-one wants to see individual police officers jailed for acting on information which was wrong, but the family of De Menezes have an understandable wish to see the murder of Jean Charles condemned as the police botch up which it was.

Throughout this hearing it has become obvious that the police's version of events do not correlate with those of civilians who were also on board the tube train where De Menezes was gunned down.

Wright said C12, the specialist firearms officer who fired the first fatal shot, had given evidence that he had shouted "armed police".

"C12 asserts positively that he did. C2 [the second firearms officer] does not claim to have shouted anything, neither did he hear anyone else.

"C5 remembers hearing more than one shout of 'armed police'.

"No other civilian in the carriage hears C12 shouting anything."

Since the moment Jean Charles De Menezes was shot, the entire police operation has appeared to be more concerned with covering their backs, blaming De Menezes himself for what took place and, generally, providing contradictory statements about what transpired on the day De Menezes was killed.

Giving the jury a choice of lawful killing or an open verdict only underlines the way in which the deck is stacked against the De Menezes family ever achieving a verdict which they would find satisfactory.

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