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London Metro Police cleared over killing of Brazilian citizen

Friday, December 21st 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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No London Metropolitan Police officers will face disciplinary action over the death of Brazilian natural Jean Charles de Menezes. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) earlier cleared 11 of the 15 officers involved in the case.

It has now ruled that the other four senior officers, including Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, will face no further action. Mr de Menezes' cousin said the decision was "a scandal" and should have been delayed until after the inquest. Vivian Figuierdo said: "It is entirely premature for the IPCC to do this before an inquest where vital evidence about the actions of these officers could come to light. "Sadly we have come to expect this from the IPCC - they have done nothing to hold the police to account for the killing of an innocent man." Ms Dick was the commanding officer on 22 July 2005 when Mr de Menezes was killed after having been confounded with a terrorist suspect. He was shot five times in the head. The three other senior officers were identified as Silver, Trojan 84 and Trojan 80. In November, the Met Police force was found guilty of breaching health and safety laws over the shooting. But the Old Bailey jury added a rider to its verdict to say that Ms Dick bore "no personal culpability" for what went wrong. The IPCC considered whether she was responsible for failures in the planning or management of the operation that amounted to a disciplinary offence, but decided she was not. In a statement, it said: "The IPCC cannot foresee any circumstances in which new evidence might emerge which would cause any disciplinary tribunal to disregard the jury's rider." The watchdog said that as the responsibilities of Ms Dick and the other three officers were "intertwined", it could not see how a tribunal could attach personal blame to them but not to her. A Met Police spokesman said the shooting was "a matter of deep regret", but added: "We are pleased by this move forward and for these officers and their families who have faced much uncertainty." Last week, the IPCC ruled that the UK's former top anti-terror officer, Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, should be given "advice" about his future conduct following his involvement in the shooting. The watchdog said he had "misled" the public, but should not face disciplinary proceedings. Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the Menezes family, said they had twice urged the IPCC to delay its decision. "It is disappointing that the IPCC have disregarded the serious objections raised," she said. "We fear that if new evidence emerges at the inquest it may be harder to bring disciplinary decisions in the future as officers could argue abuse of process." The Met Police was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 costs after being convicted of exposing the public to risk. But Mr Figuierdo said: "If the jury at the health and safety trial found the police guilty of catastrophic errors, why is it that no police officer is being held individually accountable?" Mr de Menezes' inquest is expected to be held next year.

Categories: Politics, International.

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