Letter: Deaths in prison

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The Independent Online
ALTON MANNING was killed by the brutal force used on him by seven men. It is quite preposterous for anyone to try to explain the death of Mr Manning and the other six black men who have died in custody by reference to a predisposition on their part to succumb to asphyxia ("`Racist' prison chief is urged to quit", 27 March.)

In order to have found that Mr Manning was "unlawfully killed", the inquest jury would have had to have been sure "beyond a reasonable doubt" that he had been killed in an incident of murder or manslaughter. That is exactly the same standard of proof as is required in criminal trial.

This is remarkably convenient for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) whose official Code says that prosecutions will be brought where there is a "realistic prospect of conviction". They have, in the inquest jury's verdict, a ready-made test indicating that there is such a realistic prospect.

Thus, it is presumably just a matter of time before those who killed Mr Manning are prosecuted.

DR GARY SLAPPER

Open University, Milton Keynes

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