Senior judge to oversee G20 protests inquest

A senior judge will be appointed to oversee an inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the "earliest opportunity", it emerged today.

Discussions have been taking place between the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and the Ministry of Justice to identify a suitable candidate.

A pre-inquest hearing due to take place today was put off to a date to be set in December by City of London coroner Paul Matthews.

He wrote to the Government requesting that a senior judicial figure take over the case because of its potentially wide-ranging implications.

In a written Parliamentary answer to a question by Green MP Caroline Lucas, Minister Jonathan Djanogly said the request is being dealt with.

He said: "In accordance with the usual practice in such cases, we have been discussing with the Lord Chief Justice the availability of suitable candidates for appointment to this inquest.

"The Lord Chief Justice has now agreed to nominate a judge, and details of the appointment are likely to be made public by the local authority for the coroner at the earliest opportunity."

Mr Tomlinson, 47, died after collapsing on the pavement on the fringes of angry G20 protests on April 1 last year.

His death became global news after video evidence emerged that challenged the original official version of events.

Pathologist Dr Freddy Patel found he died of natural causes but an amateur video later showed Mr Tomlinson being pushed to the ground by a police officer.

Pc Simon Harwood, a member of the Met's territorial support group, escaped prosecution but faces being sacked under fast-track misconduct proceedings.

Mr Tomlinson's family accused the authorities of a cover-up and have supported moves to bring in a senior judge to oversee the inquest.

The hearing is likely to examine the actions of police, the pathologist, the coroner and independent investigators in the aftermath of Mr Tomlinson's death.