Police marksmen could face charges for shooting Brazilian at Tube station
Wednesday 24 August 2005
The inquest into the Brazilian electrician's death was delayed for six months to allow the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to complete its inquiry. But the IPCC investigation will not be published until any court case, or disciplinary action, against the officers is complete.
Mr de Menezes died when he was shot eight times on a Tube train at Stockwell station, south London, on 22 July, by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber.
Confirmation that the officers could be prosecuted came from Richard Latham, the lawyer for the IPCC, at a brief preliminary inquest hearing in London.
He told Inner South District coroner's court: "There is an intention to report before Christmas. No one would expect an investigation such as this to be hurried. It must be wide-ranging and conducted with very considerable care.
"In due course there may - I emphasise there may - be recommendations to the Director [of Public Prosecutions] that criminal proceedings should be initiated or a recommendation to the Metropolitan Police or the Metropolitan Police Authority that disciplinary proceedings may arise and, inevitably, in due course there will be an inquest."
Alessandro Pereira, a cousin of Mr de Menezes, said he was pleased that criminal charges could be brought against police.
John Cummins, a senior IPCC investigating officer, told the hearing there was still a "considerable amount of fresh work to be done" in their investigation.
Amid conflicting reports over whether CCTV cameras had captured the Brazilian's last moments, he told the hearing he had received a "comprehensive handover package" from the Metropolitan Police, but declined to say whether it included video footage.
The Independent has learnt that the surveillance camera that would have filmed Mr de Menezes being shot dead was providing "live'' pictures but, because of a malfunction, did not record any images.
Anti-terrorist police who seized footage from cameras at Stockwell hours after the attempted bombings on 21 July discovered that at least one camera was recording blank pictures. The faulty camera was believed to be on the Northern line where Mr de Menezes was shot dead.
Because of the malfunction, the camera was showing live pictures to Tube staff monitoring them, but when police studied the tape it was blank. That could explain why Tube staff have insisted that cameras were working at Stockwell yet the leaked police reports into the shooting say that they were malfunctioning.
It is unclear whether any of the other surveillance cameras were working on the Northern line platform where the shooting took place but even if they were, it was suggested that they were pointing away from the shooting.
Representatives of the Brazilian government, who are visiting London to examine the circumstances of the death, said yesterday they were keen to see any relevant footage from Stockwell. The ambassador, Manoel Gomes Pereira, said: "We want to see the video."
He said his government had been left "perplexed" when information given by police to the IPCC was leaked last week. "We didn't have any idea of the new facts," he said.
But he said he did not believe that British officials or police had tried to cover up the truth about the shooting. He said: "At this point in time we do not think so, we do not have any reason to feel this."
Marcio Garcia, from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, and Wagner Goncalves, of the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor's Office, met senior Metropolitan Police officers, including Sir Ian Blair, its Commissioner, on Monday.
Yesterday they met Mr Pereira and will today visit the Crown Prosecution Service and the IPCC.
Claims that the campaign pressing for justice for Mr de Menezes had been hijacked by hardline left-wing campaigners were denied yesterday by two relatives.
Asad Rehman, one of the campaign's chief spokesmen, has advised George Galloway, the leader of the Respect party, and was a founder of the Stop the War Coalition, although he resigned from it in 2003.
Another, Yasmin Khan, is involved with National Assembly Against Racism and Iraq Occupation Focus, which is campaigning to get coalition forces out of Iraq.
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