Azara Blog: Judge says that Jean Charles de Menezes was not killed unlawfully

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Date published: 2008/12/02

The BBC says:

The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes will not be able to consider a verdict of unlawful killing, the coroner has said.

Sir Michael Wright said that having heard all the evidence, a verdict of unlawful killing was "not justified".

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station in south London after he was mistaken for one of the failed 21 July 2005 bombers.

The jury may now return either an open or lawful killing verdict.

Sir Michael's ruling came as he began his summing up of the case on Tuesday.

"In directing you that you cannot return a verdict of unlawful killing, I am not saying that nothing went wrong in a police operation which resulted in the killing of an innocent man," he told the hearing.

But in narrowing down the choice of verdict, he added: "All interested persons agree that a verdict of unlawful killing could only be left to you if you could be sure that a specific officer had committed a very serious crime - murder or manslaughter."

Sir Michael also warned jurors that they must not attach any criminal or civil fault to any individuals.

This is totally outrageous. The judge is basically claiming that the State can shoot anyone it wants, whenever it wants, and nothing will come of it. Especially if the victim is a foreigner. The police screwed up big time. And if no individual or individuals can be picked out for blame, then the police as an institution should be found guilt of unlawful killing.

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