CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

There is no justification for attacking Sir Keir Starmer over the de Menezes case

11 September, 2020

• SARA Callaway (The shooting in the US of Jacob Blake is horrific, but the UK is not innocent, September 3), continues her attack on Sir Keir Starmer for his actions when he was Director of Public Prosecutions (2008-2013) in respect of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in July 2005.

She misunderstands the role of the DPP. The DPP is bound by the Code for Crown Prosecutions and by the test of “realistic prospect of conviction”. You may not like this test but the DPP has a duty to apply it.

In July 2006 Ken Macdonald, the then DPP, concluded that there was no realistic prospect of a conviction against any individual police officer.

This decision was challenged by the victim’s family. In December 2006 the Divisional Court confirmed that Macdonald had taken the only reasonable decision that was open to him on the available evidence.

It was only after the December 2008 inquest, which returned an “open verdict”, that the family asked Starmer to review the decision not to prosecute.

He confirmed that there remained insufficient evidence to secure a conviction against any individual. This decision was not challenged.

In 2015 the Menezes family took the British government to the European Court of Human Rights over the decision not to prosecute any police officer for the shooting.

The legal challenge was mounted under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, regarding state deprivation of life and use of force.

The ECHR supported the DPP’s decisions and concluded that there was insufficient evidence against any individual officer to prosecute.

There is no justification for this continuing attack on Sir Keir, whose whole life has shown his dedication to human rights.

GILES WRIGHT,
WC1

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