Europe court: London police shooting inquiry did not violate rights

Decisions not to pursue criminal charges against British police in their 2005 shooting of a mistakenly identified suicide bomber did not violate the human rights convention, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Wednesday.

The case was brought by the cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian man who was erroneously suspected to be a suicide bomber and fatally shot by police in London.

Menezes' cousin said criminal charges should have been sought against the police officers, and that British authorities failed to thoroughly investigate the incident.

But the court found that both individual and institutional responsibility had been examined extensively by a British police commission and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

In its ruling, it said that the prosecutor decided there was not enough evidence against any individual officer.

"The decision not to prosecute any individual officer was not due to any failings in the investigation or the state's tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts," the court said.

De Menezes lived at the same London address as two terrorist suspects, which was placed under surveillance after suicide bombings in the city's transport network killed 56 people in early July 2005.

On July 21, unexploded bombs were found on a city bus, raising already strained tensions.

On July 22, 2005, de Menezes was pinned down by special firearms officers and shot several times in the head while he was in an underground railway station on his way to work.

A police commission report concluded the killing of an innocent man "happened because of mistakes that could and should have been avoided."

The commission did not, however, recommend disciplinary measures against the individual officers. A separate investigation by the CPS reached similar conclusions.

A court ruled against the police for offences under a health act of 1974 and ordered them to pay a fine of 175,000 pounds (248,863 dollars). The Metropolitan Police Service also agreed to settle in a subsequent civil case.

Last update: Wed, 30/03/2016 - 17:04


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