CORONER RULES OUT ‘UNLAWFUL KILLING’ VERDICT – in de Menezes inquest

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Solicitors for the Jean Charles de Menezes family yesterday went to the High Court to seek a judicial review of the coroner’s ruling that the inquest into the young Brazilian’s death may not return an ‘unlawful killing’ verdict.

Earlier, angry members of the de Menezes family and their supporters walked out of court at the beginning of the Coroner’s summing up to express their dissatisfaction with the turn of events at the inquest.

A spokesperson for the Jean Charles de Menezes Family Campaign told News Line: ‘It is essential in a case of this significance that a jury is given the widest opportunity to comment on all the evidence they have heard.

‘We await the decision of the High Court and hope a just outcome will prevail.’

After seven weeks of hearing evidence, Coroner Sir Michael Wright told the jury that, according to coroner’s rules, ‘it’s not your role to attach criminal or civil fault to any named person and you are not to return any verdict which might have that effect.’

He told jurors that verdicts cannot be inconsistent with the outcome of the Metropolitan Police’s health and safety trial, which cleared Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick of personal blame.

He added that the decision on whether to return a lawful verdict or an open verdict depended on whether or not they believed that the two firearms officers, C2 and C12, ‘honestly believed’ that de Menezes represented an ‘imminent lawful threat’ and that their response to that was ‘proportionate and reasonable’.

He said that the jury must consider whether firearms officers really did shout ‘armed police’ before opening fire.

The coroner also asked the jury to consider whether de Menezes did actually stand up and walk towards the police, as they claimed.

The jury was also asked to consider the pressure on the police at the time, and whether they should have been provided with better photos to be able to identify him as a terror suspect.

Reminding the jury that the innocent young Brazilian’s mother, Maria Otone de Menezes, had seen much of the evidence, the coroner added: ‘I know that your heart will go out to her.

‘But these are emotional reactions, ladies and gentlemen, and you are charged with returning a verdict based on evidence. Put aside any emotion – put them to one side.’

His summing up is the last stage before the jury, which has sat since September 22, is sent out to consider its verdicts.

Jurors heard from 100 witnesses, including the two men who shot dead the innocent Brazilian with seven bullets at point-blank range on a carriage at Stockwell station on July 22, 2005.