ALL 45 police officers’ applications for anonymity at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes have been approved, it was announced yesterday.
The Coroner, Sir Michael Wright, announced this decision at a pre-inquest hearing into Jean Charles’ death at Southwark Coroners Court this morning.
The move, which was opposed by several media organisations who gave detailed written and oral submissions to the coroner, means that the officers will give evidence behind screens and will be given codenames hiding their identity from the public.
In response to the family’s concerns around transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for the family to see the officers giving evidence.
Campaigners for the family continue to call for such blanket anonymity to be lifted as they fear it hinders public scrutiny of public officials and could affect the quality of evidence provided.
The Coroner also announced that the venue for the inquest will be Oval Cricket Ground and confirmed a start date of 22nd September with a strict schedule of the inquest lasting a maximum of twelve weeks sitting four days a week, Monday to Thursday.
In addition, it was announced that a website for the inquest will be created, the first time such provisions have been made for a death in custody inquest, and the website will contain transcripts and a Livenote of proceedings.
A spokesperson for the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign said: ‘We welcome the provisions that have been made available for this inquest which clearly demonstrate the significant public interest in the issues arising from Jean’s death.
‘At the same time we are deeply disappointed at the provisions for anonymity for all of the police officers which goes against the spirit of an open, transparent investigation.
‘Public scrutiny is severely hindered if 45 police officers will potentially give evidence behind screens.
‘Rather it seems the Metropolitan police continue to promote tactics which would ensure that named individuals evade responsibility for the deliberate killing of an innocent man’