Justice denied anywhere diminshes justice everywhere*

Having passed the anniversary of the 7 July bomb attack on London – read this – another anniversary approaches rapidly.

In ten days time (22 July) it will be one year on from the extra-judicial killing of an innocent Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, by the Metropolitan Police in Stockwell Underground Station.

Last August, as it become more and more apparent that getting any answers to the question of what went wrong, let alone any hint of accountability for what happened that day, was going to be a slow process, I wrote:

Here’s how it goes:

The IPCC report will not be finished until the end of this year.

This will then go privately to the Met and the Home Office who will decide whether any matters should be referred to the CPS for possible criminal charges – add three months on for that decision.

If it is referred to the CPS, they will then need to instruct another Police Force to carry out a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the shooting – add another six months – after which the CPS will have to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial – another six months again.

Then there’s the trial itself – anything from six months to a year during which time the matter will be sub judice.

Only after all that – assuming they’re not out time by then – would the Menezes family have a shot at civil litigation – which would add another 6-12 months on anyway.

It’s also going to be the case that the Met will not start any serious disciplinary proceedings against officers until an criminal trial(s) are disposed of and quite how long such proceedings might take is anyone’s guess as, if things run true to form, anyone who might face a disciplinary will, by then, have developed some sort of ailment – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – which means they’ll be unfit to attend any such proceeding until…

…well, until they’ve had time to rack up enough in the way of additional pension contributions to make retirement from the Met on ‘medical grounds’ a viable option.

What we’ll be left with in, at best, a junior officer or two in the frame for a bollocking over minor mistakes while all the command officers, including Blair himself, will be safely out of the way and retired on nice fat pensions before the shit get anywhere near the fan, let alone hits it.

That’s modern day Britain for you – fuck justice, we have bureaucracy at its best.

So you can imagine that I take no pleasure whatsoever when it appears that I may well have been right all along.

The Metropolitan Police looks increasingly likely to be prosecuted under heath and safety laws for the fatal shooting of a Brazilian man at Stockwell Tube station – but no officers are expected to face criminal charges.

Yes, if there is to be any prosecution it looks like it will be under health and safety law, under which the Metropolitan Police could be subject to an ‘unlimited fine’.

In case you haven’t figured out utter inanity of that proposition, the sequence is that were the Met actually convicted and fined then they would have to pay the fine over to the court, who pass it on to Treasury, who can then give it the Home Office to be given back to the Metropolitan Police…

Meanwhile:

It has also emerged that most of the 11 police officers who were considered for possible prosecution have taken legal advice to refrain from giving full statements to investigators.

So they lawyered up and stuck strictly to ‘no comment’, did they? That is certainly their right, but I’ll bet the many a defence lawyer will crack a wry smile at that bit of news…

And it gets even better…

The health and safety laws have been changed in the past year so that the commissioner or chief constable is no longer personally liable for the actions of their staff.

Well, isn’t that just peachy! – although its also factually inaccurate inasmuch as the changes to which the Indy are referring are contained in a statutory intstrument, the Police Reform (Health and Safety) Regulations, which was enacted in 2003…

Still it comes as no surprise at all to find that:

Any prosecution would cause long delays for the two independent inquiries into the shooting and the police action that followed it. If a trial takes place then the inquiry reports, known as Stockwell 1 and 2, would almost certainly be delayed well into next year.

No shit, Sherlock!

And despite some hint of action…

The inquiry into the shooting, carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is understood to have accused the Met of organisational failure, particularly in the areas of surveillance and communications.

The strong criticism of the running of the Met will be damaging to Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner, who is facing pressure to resign. He will also be censured for trying to prevent the IPCC from investigating the case.

We end up with this…

The two IPCC reports into the shooting and the Met’s handling of the case now look certain to be further delayed. Even if there are no prosecutions the reports will probably be delayed until late autumn at the earliest, but they may have to wait for internal disciplinary action, which could see publication put back to next year. An IPCC spokeswoman said: "We will publish as soon as the legal process allows."

Which is pretty much as I predicted last year.

Just one question I do have though…

The IPCC inquiry also found that a surveillance officer had altered a logbook and written in the word "not" so that it read that the suspect had "not" been identified as the wanted man. The offending officer is likely to face disciplinary action.

Disciplinary action? Is that it?

If either Marcin ot Tony Hatfield swing by I wonder if they could offer an opinion on this, as tampering with evidence in this way looks to me, at least, rather like attempting to pervert the course of justice, which, in other circumstances, would result in a prosecution.

*Title quotation – Martin Luther King Jr.

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