THE uncovering of ‘new’ forensic evidence by the Surrey constabulary has led to the arrest of the two police officers who shot dead Harry Stanley, on September 22 1999, as he was making his way home.
The two have been arrested on suspicion of murder, suspicion of gross negligence, manslaughter and seeking to pervert the course of justice.
The arrests followed the uncovering of ‘new’ forensic evidence. This has undermined the May 2005 decision of a High Court Appeal Judge, that a previous coroner’s verdict, of October 2004, that Stanley’s death was an ‘unlawful killing’ could not stand, on the grounds of ‘insufficient evidence’.
That 2004 coroner’s verdict had sparked an unprecedented unofficial strike, the first police strike for very many years, by members of SO19, the Metropolitan Police’s firearms unit, over which no disciplinary action was taken.
The arrest of the two suspects has been attacked both by the Met police chiefs, and the police federation.
The Metropolitan Police had lifted the suspensions of the two police officers and returned them to non-armed duty, and both the Met and the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) had given their backing to the two men.
Assistant Commissioner Steve House said yesterday: ‘These officers have been through two inquests, there have been two investigations, it’s five-and-a-half years on. Somebody must call a halt and say, “We are going to make a definitive decision here”.’
‘The anger is simply about how many times are officers to be held to account?’
MPF chairman Glen Smyth said he was disgusted at the way they had been treated.
In fact, the scandal is that it has taken five and a half years to get to the stage where the necessary evidence has been acquired to arrest the two police officers on suspicion of murder.
Also, the way that the new evidence was uncovered does not testify to the rigour of the original investigation.
Surrey Police had been reviewing the investigation into Stanley’s death. A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: ‘As part of this process, the reviewing lawyer asked Surrey Police to undertake the forensic examination of some of the evidence.
‘As a result of this request, new evidence has come to light.’
The new evidence came to light after a forensic examination by the Surrey police of the original evidence!
It is the Stanley family that has the right to be really angry, and to demand that matters be brought to a conclusion and that the officers be charged. They have been waiting for five and a half years for an adequate forensic examination of the evidence!
Harry Stanley, after all, was assassinated by police gunmen. His body was left lying in the street for many hours. His wife was not properly informed of his death. And five and a half years on, the family is still fighting to get at the truth.
It took four years to get a coroner’s verdict of unlawful killing, which was speedily overturned by a judge on appeal, whose ruling seemed to give armed police immunity from prosecution for the killing of innocents.
The unofficial strikers of the police armed group no doubt think that they should have the right to life or death over the community and immunity from prosecution when they kill innocents.
Apparently there is talk, again, that if the police officers are charged there will be another unofficial strike.
There is only one way to deal with these mutinous policemen and their chiefs who feel that it is the police and not the Stanley family who have had a rough deal.
The Metropolitan police chiefs must be sacked, its armed groups disbanded and the Met police force, condemned years ago for being institutionally racist, must be broken up – and the same must be done with its sister organisations throughout the UK.
In place of the capitalist state we need a workers’ state where order is maintained by a workers’ militia, serving the interests of the working class.