Sunday, December 14

Inquest: Jean Charles de Menezes

The Front Page of yesterday's Daily Mail thunders: ''Stockwell Jury dams police cover-up'' under a picture of Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian Electrian who was killed by ''Police'' (possibly SAS) armed officers over three years ago.

All the UK national newspapers and other news services comment in detail on the verdict of the killing which took place on 22 July 2005.

The Jurors returned an open verdict which was the most strongly critical option available to them after the judge instructed them that there was insufficient evidence to rule that Mr De Menezes was unlawfully killed.

In effect the ''Police'' who killed Jean Charles DeMenezes in front of a train carriage of passengers that day were effectively called liars by the Inquest Jury. Furthermore, in response to specific questions put to the Jury by Sir Michael Wright a High Court Judge acting as Coroner in this case, the jurors responded by rejecting almost out of hand the official version of events provided by the Metropolitan Police. This is clearly a huge embracement particularly (and crucially) that the excuses by the Police that they were under extreme pressure on the day of the shooting was not accepted as valid.

The label below this post leads to other postings that were posted on this blog at various stages in this sad story and cover most of the details, there is little point in chewing over all the depressing aspects of this case again. The string of intelligence and communication blunders which led to Mr de Menezes being wrongly idnentified as the terrorist suspect Hussain Osman - on the bases of a grainey photograph on a gym membership card were rightly condemned at the Inquest.
The obvious sobering key facts are now well established, the Police operational plans 'Cratos' failed, key officers on the day failed and the cover-up after the event by various Police officers (thankfully) also failed.
It is difficult not to conclude that much of the shambles on that fateful day was not down to Cressida Dick, the officer in charge of the ill-fated operation, who has since curiously been promoted. Miss Dick and her senior colleagues left the officers who unloaded the fatel shots in an impossible position, equiping them only with garbled messages and seriously bungled intelligemce.
While the plight of the firearms officers on the day deserves considerable sympathy, it is a matter of grave concern and indeed a damning indictment of the police's fallen standing in our society- that the jury did not belive their account of events.
If the option of returning an unlawful killing verdict had been open to the Jury, there is a good chance that it would have done so, someting that the de Menezes family will be challenging in the Courts. The conclusions drawn by the jury in the £8 million, three month long trial have quite rightly huge implications for the future operational mangement of Policing in the UK.

It has also to be said specifically that the poor performance of many senior officers of the 'Met' during and since the killing is a matter of considerable public concern. Those senior officers are paid vast amounts of tax payers money to be wise before the event and not after it; quite simply it is their duty to perform to acceptable standards. It is not acceptable that they give poorly preprepared crassly insulting statements about ''lessons learnt.'' to journalists in the wake of official reports and court cases.

When business people grossly fail in their work they suffer the consequences of humiliation, loss of income almost certainly their job and frequently bankruptcy. It is a reflection of the institutionaly corrupt public sector that when senior public servants seriously fail that they are increasingly getting away with making statements saying sorry we will get it right next time. We the public must demand far greater accountability. The inevitable consequence of not demanding that accountability of our very well remunerated and expensively trained public servants is quite simple, the terrorists will win and the public will continue to suffer.

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