hutch0 (hutch0) wrote,

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jean charles gets his day in court

And here I have to recant some things I said a few months ago when I spoke about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, who had mistaken him for a terrorist. And it gives me enormous delight to be able to do so.
I had thought that the de Menezes case would be quietly and carefully folded up and put away and that he wouldn't be granted any kind of justice. I was rather scathing about the fact that the only legal action that was going to be taken was under Health & Safety legislation and I concluded that the whole thing was a farce.
I was wrong.
The Health & Safety trial began this week and it's already becoming a nightmare for the Met. No matter what the outcome of the trial - and the Met could conceivably be fined millions of pounds if found guilty - the picture that's emerging of the day Jean Charles died is one of confusion. The image presented in court of his death - sitting calmly on the train at Stockwell Underground Station as two armed police officers dashed aboard, standing up, being grabbed and forced back down into his seat by an undercover officer while the two armed policemen leaned over, put their guns to his head and fired seven times - is not one I will forget in a hurry.
I don't take any joy from seeing the Metropolitan Police hauled over the coals this way. They do a tough job with inadequate manpower and - though they're the richest force in the country - inadequate funds for the peculiar demands of policing the Capital. But they cocked up big-time in July 2005 and I'm glad to see them called to account for it.
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, for whom the evidence presented must be painful beyond belief, deserve some kind of closure. I'm not sure if seeing the Met called to account in this way will go some distance towards that closure, but to my knowledge it's unique to see a police force stood up in court like this. I certainly hadn't expected it to be like this; I'd expected something discreet like a coroner's inquest, rather than a full-blown trial in the full glare of the media - who I also accused of forgetting about Jean Charles de Menezes, and for that I apologise.

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