Tuesday, December 02, 2008

No Justice for Jean

The coroner in the inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes has banned the jury from returning a verdict of unlawful killing. Yes, banned. Just when they thought they were there to assess the evidence and pass a judgment, the boss man tells them that they can't even consider the one verdict that might make sense, let alone bring justice.

So whatever the killing was - and the remaining verdict options are 'lawful', 'open' and 'narrative' - it was not unlawful. And neither must the jury blame anyone. This despite evidence that:Coroner Sir Michael Wright told the jury that their choice of verdict now depends on whether they feel that the two officers who shot and killed the innocent Brazilian honestly believed that he represented an imminent, mortal threat. So the jury could decide that the two officers did not really believe that Jean represented an imminent, mortal threat, shot him dead anyway, and that would still not be 'unlawful killing'.

No wonder Sir Michael urged the jury to "Put aside any emotion". Perhaps he should also have urged them to put aside justice, accountability and even basic logic.