No charges will be brought over shooting of London lawyer

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The Independent Online

Police marksmen who shot death barrister Mark Saunders will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service announced yesterday after reviewing the case.

Sally Walsh, of the CPS, said: "There remains insufficient evidence to charge any officer in relation to the tragic death of Mark Saunders."

The divorce lawyer was killed as he levelled a shotgun at officers surrounding his Chelsea home. An inquest jury accused police of tactical blunders but ruled that the marksmen acted lawfully.

Mr Saunders, a depressed alcoholic, had been binge-drinking. He had been granted a firearms licence despite his drink problem and depression.

Prosecutors ruled out charging more senior officers with negligence, misconduct or breaches of health and safety laws. One officer, known only as Alpha Zulu 8 (AZ8), from the CO19 specialist firearms unit, still faces an investigation into claims he inserted song lyrics into his inquest testimony.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the shooting found the Met's strategy "appropriate and within national and force guidelines". But it had concerns about firearms licences, confusion over the role of senior officers and a lack of options for dealing with vulnerable people.

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