No charges for officers over Menezes shooting

The police officers involved in the wrongful shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at a Tube station last July will not face prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

The CPS ruled that there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute an individual over the fatal shooting.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station on July 22, after being mistaken for a suicide bomber. He was followed from his home in Tulse Hill to the station, where he was shot eight times - seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.

Stephen O'Doherty, senior lawyer from the CPS Special Crime Division, said: "The two officers who fired the fatal shots did so because they thought that Mr de Menezes had been identified as a suicide bomber and that if they did not shoot him, he would blow up the train, killing many people."

However, the CPS ruled that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Office of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair under sections 3 and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 of failing to provide for the health, safety and welfare of Mr de Menezes.

However, the CPS stressed that that this was not a personal prosecution of Sir Ian Blair.

Mr de Menezes family have criticised the decision. Alex Pereira, a cousin of Mr de Menezes, said the decision was "unbelievable".

A statement released by the Metropolitan Police said: "The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is a matter of very deep regret to the Metropolitan Police Service. We have apologised publicly and in private to them and we would again like to take this opportunity to say sorry for this tragedy.

"We acknowledge and support today's decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge any officer with criminal offences for their part in the events of July 22. While we still need to consider carefully any disciplinary matters we are pleased for the officers and their families who have faced much uncertainty over the last year.

"However, we are concerned and clearly disappointed at today's decision to prosecute the Metropolitan Police Service for breaches of health and safety. Despite the uncertainty this prosecution will create, we will not shrink from our key role of protecting public safety."

Human rights group Liberty has criticised the fact that the Independent Police Complaints Commission's report has yet to be published in the public domain.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "Nearly one year after the Stockwell tragedy, it is grossly unacceptable that there is still no proper public account of what took place. We are very disappointed by the length of time the combined efforts of the IPCC and CPS continue to take."


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