Charges for police in Tube shooting

Stockwell officers face charge of perverting course of justice after logbook was faked. Marksmen exonerated in CPS inquiry into mistaken shooting of 27-year-old Brazilian electrician
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The Independent Online

Police officers are facing criminal charges over allegations that they tampered with evidence after shooting dead an innocent Brazilian at a London Underground station, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officials investigating the killing of 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes plan to charge the officers who oversaw the operation with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The disclosure comes three weeks after reports that undercover police deliberately attempted to blame firearms officers for the shooting.

Police surveillance officers allegedly tried to disguise the fact that they had mistaken Mr de Menezes for Hussain Osman, the alleged terrorist being hunted for a failed suicide bombing on the Tube.

The CPS is planning action over the allegations that Special Branch officers took part in the cover-up, in which words clearing them of any wrong-doing were written into the police log.

Senior legal sources say that officers who were allegedly involved in altering the log, which detailed the last movements of Mr de Menezes, face charges of obstructing public justice or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

One prosecution source said: "This was a deliberate and obvious attempt to smear the firearms officers and there is a great deal of anxiety about it at the Met."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report reveals that a log was changed so that it read: "And it was not Osman" instead of "it was Osman". This meant that surveillance officers could claim the marksmen had shot dead the wrong man despite having been warned that he was not who they had thought.

Senior CPS sources have told the IoS that the blame for the shooting lies with Special Branch and the surveillance officers who wrongly identified the Brazilian electrician as a suicide bomber. The original focus of the inquiry into why Mr de Menezes was shot dead by police last year was on the officers who fired the fatal shots. Scotland Yard, the CPS and the IPCC have refused to comment publicly on reports that the surveillance log was tampered with.

However, this newspaper has learnt that documents given to the CPS last month detail the alleged forgery. This is being taken extremely seriously by investigators and is central to the case against the police.

The IoS has also learnt that the CPS is now planning to question a further eight officers in addition to the four who have already been quizzed by the IPCC.

There was a public outcry over the shooting of Mr de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station. The armed officers were acting under controversial new guidelines which allow police to shoot suspected suicide bombers without challenge.

Mr de Menezes' family has called for a public inquiry into the killing. They have already brought a separate case against Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. They allege that he misled the public over comments he made in the aftermath of the Stockwell shooting.