New inquest on police shooting
Posted: April 16, 2003
Filed under: Police
Hackney resident Harry Stanley was gunned down by police in 1999 near Victoria Park. Since then his family have campaigned for justice. The latest news might bring that nearer. Below is a story taken from the Guardian website. The Harry Stanley campaign can be contacted at: Justice for Harry Stanley, PO Box 29644, London E2 8TS.
Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent
Tuesday April 8, 2003
The family of an unarmed man shot dead in a London street by police officers won the right for a second inquest yesterday, following a high court ruling which quashed the open verdict of the first. Harry Stanley’s relatives argued that the original hearing was flawed because the coroner, Stephen Chan, had prevented jurors from hearing certain expert witnesses and would not allow them to consider that Stanley had been killed unlawfully.
A father of three, Stanley, 46, was shot twice by specialist firearms officers as he walked home from a pub in Hackney, east London, in September 1999. He was carrying the leg of a coffee table in a tightly-wrapped plastic bag. The two officers have said they thought he was carrying a sawn-off shotgun. The officers also claimed he grasped one end of the table leg into his body and pointed the other at an officer, making it look like a shotgun. Last year’s inquest, however, heard forensic evidence indicating Stanley was facing away from the officers when he was shot in the head and hand.
In December 2001 the crown prosecution service ruled that, while the officers had been negligent, there was insufficient evidence to bring charges. Yesterday Tim Owen QC, appearing for Stanley’s widow, Irene, told the high court it was now accepted by the police that the original inquest was flawed and a new investigation should take place. Dr Chan, the Inner North London coroner, had wrongly prevented jurors from hearing from expert witnesses and should have allowed them to consider a verdict of unlawful killing, he said. Mr Justice Silber told the court he would quash the verdict of the original inquest and order a second. Outside the court, Mrs Stanley said: “I am just pleased that we have got a fresh inquest and we have a new coroner as well.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of the pressure group Inquest, said: “We are encouraged by the fact that [the judge] is taking this very seriously. “Obviously the case has big implications for other controversial cases involving the use of state force.”