Tue, Oct 17, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Family of London underground victim goes to High Court

AFP , LONDON

The family of an innocent Brazilian killed by British anti-terror police took their case yesterday to the High Court after prosecutors decided in July not to pursue the individual officers involved.

Lawyers acting for the family of the victim, Jean Charles de Menezes, are challenging the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) decision not to prosecute them by filing for the case to be reviewed by the High Court.

"In respect of the decision not to prosecute any individual officers, we consider the CPS has usurped the role of the jury in its assessment of the evidence," lawyer Harriet Wistrich said.

The lawyers are also challenging the adjournment of the inquest into de Menezes's death and the failure of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to publish its report on the shooting.

Concerning both points, Wistrich said, "the CPS's uncompromising approach gives the appearance of a stitch-up."

In July, British prosecutors ruled out bringing criminal charges against the officers behind the fatal shots fired at the 27-year-old electrician, citing "insufficient evidence."

The CPS said "operational errors" indicated that there had been a breach of the duties owed to those outside the police under the health and safety laws.

Last month representatives for London's Metropolitan Police gave a not guilty plea at the City of Westminster Magristrate's Court in London to charges of breaching health and safety laws.

The case was then adjourned until Jan. 16 next year, the date for an administrative hearing at the British capital's Central Criminal Court.

Mistaken for a suicide bomber, De Menezes was shot seven times in the head at point blank range at Stockwell Underground train station in south London on July 22 last year.

The killing happened just over two weeks after four suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 others on London's public transport network.

An alleged attempt to replicate those attacks was foiled on July 21, the day before De Menezes was shot.

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