View Full Version : Coroner’s Jurys

31st Oct 2004, 13:49
Given the rather daft decisions this week by Coroner's Jurys, in repsect of low flying helecopters and police shooting a man in North London..is it time to change the range of decisions that the Jury in a Coroners court can make?

tony draper
31st Oct 2004, 14:17
Something that struck me a few years ago, Coroners seem to have more power than Judges to instruct the jury what verdict to come to, thought at the time whats the point of having a Jury if they are told they can only arrive at one conclusion?.

31st Oct 2004, 14:48
I have to admit, I have never given evidence in a Coroners Court, so I am not sure what the Coroner can and cannot do, but these 2 verdicts seem to be daft!

31st Oct 2004, 16:13
What was the story there bjcc?

31st Oct 2004, 17:06
Well, seems to be 2 storys...

A Jury somewhere up north apparently critisied the RAF low flying system after a horse rider was killed falling off when a Mil chopper went over head.
Then a Jury at a North London inquest returned an Unlawful Killing verdict in the case of a man shot by Police.

As regards the chopper one, from what I have read, the critism seems unjustifed. In the case of the Police officers it appears downright stupid.

I've seen some daft verdicts from jurys in criminal cases, but these 2 in particular left me wondering if it's not about time jurys in coroners courts were got rid of.

tony draper
31st Oct 2004, 17:52
A few years ago a aquaintence of mine was first on the scene at a house fire, he and another chap managed to break the door down and enter, howerver the fire was well established and after trying on three occasions to get up the stairs they were beaten back by flame and smoke both were burnt and suffered smoke inhilation,the Fire Brigade then arrived and took over, unfortunatly two young girls died in that fire, unbelievably the Coroner tore a right strip off both of them in court saying they had not tried hard enough, that really upset my friend, and effected him.
I told him he should have stood up in court told the old bastard to F*ck off, he wasn't there.
How are Coroners selected?,some of them seem worse than our Judges if that is possible.

31st Oct 2004, 18:32
I don't know how they are selected, I do know they are either Doctors or Solicitors.

I can see why your friend was a bit dischuffed, I think I would be too!

Boss Raptor
31st Oct 2004, 19:05
Ok some 12 years ago I witnessed a fatal car accident in Stafford - only driver involved crashed into a wall no other party involved- they demanded I attend the Coroners Inquest and offered £16 in expenses (bearing in mind I lived in London) after first day still hadn't called me so as B & B cost another £35 in addition to my travel to and from Stafford I told them to poke off and shove it - that's how serious Coroners Courts are - dont even pay comparable expenses to usual court and certainly not enough to recompense attendance - way behind the times and next time I shall know better and deny seeing anything or offering evidence

Clearly with TD's tale you are better off standing outside a fire and letting whoever die...at least interpreting the Coroners imperative...as I say a waste of time and their comments/ruling can be very counterproductive!

1st Nov 2004, 00:17
Cant comment on the "table leg shooting", but, had you bothered to read the full account of the death of the horse rider in Lincolnshire, instead of reading it in the Mirror, Sun or MOD Weekly, you would know that the helicopter overflew the horse riders at 50ft.

The lady who was killed, was an inexperienced rider and unfortunately was unable to detach herself from the horse when it bolted, her two colleagues did, they survived, she didn't.

The crew of the helicopter admitted they didn't see the horses, despite it being a gin clear day, and them being on a low level exercise of which the object ultimately was to look out for potential enemy in the air and on the ground.

Some could argue that it was negilgence on their behalf, others would say it was a tragic set of circumstances.

What annoyed the coroner as much as anything, despite him and the relatives of the deceased publicly acknowledging the requirement for low level training to take place, was the fact that the MOD were very obstructive throughout the whole enquiry.
Despite being asked what improvements they might make (after previous incidents and this one) to try and ensure such an accident didn't happen again, they continually declined to comment.

Under the circumstances, it's hardly suprising that jurys often come down on the side of the deceased rather than supporting the "authorities".

1st Nov 2004, 08:21
There you all go again, shooting from the hip, until at last niknak comes in with more detail than we get from the fish-and-chip dailies. Well done, mate.

As for the table-leg shooting, a new inquest has heard that the fatal bullet entered the target's head from the rear, contradicting claims that he turned to face the police and assumed a classic firing position. Whatever you think about the shooting of 'scrotes', it's surely not a great idea to finish the case with inconsistencies like that in it - because someone's not telling the truth.

1st Nov 2004, 08:37

That evidence was avaible at the first inquest too.

I accept that unlawful killing was not an option given by the coroner at the first inquest, possibly because having been told to drop the object he was carrying (a chair leg in a plastic bag) he didn't, he raised it to as discribed by a non police witness '90 degrees to his body'. ie a possition it could be fired from. Its not relevent that it was not pointed at police, a gun fired in the street could have hit anyone. The fact that a police officer was behind him when he was shot does not make it unlawful killing.

1st Nov 2004, 09:50
In the case of the horse rider, comment has been made that RAF Chinooks have been implicated previously in fatal accidents attributed to low flying. Irrespective of the coroners remarks, which I can't comment upon, I do know that when a friend of ours was gliding entiely legally at a cliff site, marked on airmaps as such, and was nearly killed by a passing Chinook, the Mod for several months denied the aircraft was even there, despite the fact that I and several others witnessed the entire incident.

When in the face of overwhelming evidence, they finally accepted that the aircraft MIGHT have been present, they blamed the gilder pilot, saying he deliberately flew in front of the helicopter. Hmmm, let's see, paraglider 15mph top speed, Chinook, bit faster one thinks.

One accepts the need for crews to be mission ready & trained for their jobs, however, one would also welcome the occasional 'hands up, we got that one wrong, let's get round a table & learn from it' gesture from the military.

1st Nov 2004, 11:23
But when you get a story from the police about the positions of people that isn't borne out by the forensics, you then have to query the rest of their story, don't you?

For many years, the police in the Uk seem to have adopted a 'shoot first, ask afterwards' policy - and got away with it. Remember Stephen Waldorf? And the 4 year old kid in Birmingham?

1st Nov 2004, 12:41
That's what I mean. He turns to face the people with the guns, and gets shot from the rear? Some inconsistency, surely? Which needs explaining. I wonder why they're having a second inquest, come to that.

On the subject of horseriding, it's right up there with motorcycling in the vulnerability stakes (NB not 'dangerous', vulnerable).

1st Nov 2004, 13:21

The evidence of him lifting the object was not from a police officer, but a passer by. (which coorberated the Police Officers version)
There is no dispute as far as I can see that he was shot in the back of the head, nor that the other round hit his hand.
There is also no dispute that he was shouted at to drop the bag and that there were armed Police present. He didn't drop it he lifted it. So has he lifted it to fire? In the split second you have to make the decision, he could (had it been what the information says it was) have fired it. Its not a decision I would want to have to make, because either way someone could get killed. And either way the Police Officer is in the wrong.
It seems to me that the fact the bullet hit the back of the head was the motivation for the Jury's decision. The jury took 7 hours to come to thier decison, the police officer had less than 7 seconds.
Having established he was told to drop the bag, and having established he was warned with the words 'Armed Police' then I hardly think this could be considered 'shoot first asked questions afterwards'.
There was a second inquest because the Coroner at the first directed the jury they could not being in a verdict of unlawful killing. The family appealed and were given a second inquest, at which the jury did come to a verdict of unlawful killing.

The Steven Wardorf case led to reforms in Police use of firearms. And as I recall (and I could be confusing it with another incident) the boy in Brum was an accident.

Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 13:42
I beg to differ. The evidence that he was lifting an object was not backed up by the two witnesses 100%. Their version of events changed, with one claimed to have seen both hands clutched to his stomach, while the other witness couldn't say for sure.

Neither of the police demanded he drop the object, merely, they both claim to have shouted "Armed Police, stop" as they challenged him. It is entirely possible that with the two police shouting at him he wouldn't have known what the hell was being said.

There is every possibility the first jury would have come up with unlawfull killing too, but they were denied the chance by the first coroner only allowing an open verdict or a lawfull killing verdict. They clearly rejected the lawfull killing for an open verdict, perhaps they wished to go further?

The defense against an unlawfull killing is that the officers have to have feared for their lives. They claim they feared for their lives ONCE the man turned and was facing them and they were looking down the barrel of a gun. The forensics shows that he was shot as he began to turn.

Therefore the evidence that the police used was found to be false and their defense is blown out of the water.

What is defficient in what the jurors did?

Big Tudor
2nd Nov 2004, 13:57
Military bods discussing the same thing here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=149921)
As for niknaks comments, it would appear that the crew were cleared to operate down to 50ft so no question of breaking the rules on that score. As for what could be done to prevent it happening again, the short answer is nothing IMO. Unless of course you want to devote large areas of the UK for the exclusive use of low flying aircraft.
The crew of the helicopter admitted they didn't see the horses, despite it being a gin clear day, and them being on a low level exercise of which the object ultimately was to look out for potential enemy in the air and on the ground.
And just how big a target is a horse and rider when you are travelling fast and low?

2nd Nov 2004, 14:19

Here we go again, you are sticking up for and agreeing that the Plods with guns are marksmen, and able to use their superior ability to terminate life, despite this man being totally innocent of any crime, in fact he was carrying a wooden table leg, granted that is a henious thing to do and warrantys seemingly so in your book the ability to allow any armed policeman the right to pull the trig.

Sadly and I repeat , Sadly again we are seeing the lack of total inteligence and commitment from the armed plods, who then lie through their teeth to avoid any retribution.

It is time for all actions of the Police who cause death and injury to be aired in public, the lack of transperancy that we currently have is allowing the Police to get away with murder and seriously dangerous driving, with very little action against them.

The reaction of the armed police section of the London Met, will be seen as many as what we now all know, and that is these less than committed, Careers minded people are now becomming concerned that they will be answerable for their actions, well tough in'it, shoot somone and go off an forget about it, but sadly not now , we are all answerable for our NDs.

The "Sweeny" has a lot to answer for! along with the poor management of the total UK police force.


2nd Nov 2004, 14:41
I have the greatest admiration for those who stand up to defend us , both Police and military.

However in the case of Harry Stanley there needs to be a far more detailed investigation into the decision making process that led to this man being shot.

What must be remembered here is that a man was walking down the street and was shot by Police - there was no crime involved, only a tip off. Just think if you were walking down the street and heard shouts of armed police from outside your view what would you do? - of course you would look or turn around - it would be a reflex reaction.

If the officers followed their training to the letter then it must be the training that needs examination. Or if the officers really did just cock it up then at the very least they have shown they do not have the right stuff to do this particular job and should be removed from the firearms unit.

Mr Chips
2nd Nov 2004, 15:01
Woo hoo, Police bashing again....in fact he was carrying a wooden table leg, granted that is a henious thing to do and warrantys seemingly so in your book the ability to allow any armed policeman the right to pull the trig. Not exactly true. He wasn't shot for carrying a table leg, as you seem to be trying to (albeit flippantly) suggest. He was thought to be carrying a sawn off shotgun.

allowing the Police to get away with murder and seriously dangerous driving, with very little action against them. Care to back that one up with evidence?

Careers minded people Perhaps you could quote exactly what the allowance paid to these officers is.. the officers who literally put themselves in the firing line...

Ok, I'm not a police officer, not related to one, met loads that I couldn't stand, but I do get fed up of people trotting out the same rubbish every time.

Did these officers act appropriately? Possibly not. Were they in fear for their lives - quite possibly. Was there an investigation into how the tip off was so badly wrong? I don't know. Should they look into videoing these situations? Yes.

2nd Nov 2004, 15:19
I have two comments to make about the shooting referred to above:

Firstly a member of the public had - for whatever reason and in whatever belief - told the police that there was a man with a gun. Any response other than a fully armed one would be most inappropriate.

With the expectation that they would find an armed male satisfied then the psychological process starts - they are now waiting to see whether the man is likely to start shooting (in which case they will respond appropriately) or will do as he told. If he does not respond positively (for whatever reason) the risks are increased. Time becomes compacted and if the threat level is increased - such as by the raising of a firearm - then the likelyhood of death is increased probably disproportionatly. The final thought process takes a fraction of time - analysing that thought process can take for ever.

Secondly police firearms officers shoot to kill - they do not shoot to injure/maim. If you are ever near or working with one it is always worth remembering.

There are hundreds of incidents everyweek where armed officers do make the right decision. It is a good job they do - as it keeps the rest of safe.

A former colleague was faced with having to enter a caravan where a drunken shotgun owner (a traveller) was threatening to shoot his wife. As he entered the caravan the man lashed out - my friend was able (due to time standing still as he said after) to discern the fact that he was being attacked with a knife and not the gun and was thus able to 'easily' disarm him.

He left the police shortly afterwards due to the stress of knowing that a different reaction would have landed him in jail for having unlawfully killed his attacker. He did not think he could ever cope with another incident again in case next time he made the wrong decision.

His is, I believe, I classic example of where not taking action can lead to trauma as devastating as the alternative.

My sympathies do go to the family of deceased as well as to the officers who carried out their duties.


Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 15:41
But in this case the officers appear to have shot as soon as the subject began to turn - and he turned slowly.

By the police force's own admission, when challenged, subjects freeze/run/jump/drop/scream or any number of other actions. As a result, armed police are trained to NOT react at just the first sign of motion. If need be they should also issue another caution in the event that the first wasn't understood. If this wasn't the case, given the number of call-outs every day, we would be having police shootings on a daily basis.

In the event, it looks undeniably as though the police acted the instant the subject moved. This is not good. I suspect on realisation that they had done this, in order to protect themselves they concocted a story that the subject had turned around and essentially challenged them.

Sadly, ballistics evidence has proven this to be wrong, and again, they have essentially dug themselves a hole by relying on this evidence, rather than sticking with what seems to have been the truth.

They do a tough job, and it requires split second thinking. I think everyone accepts that. But then to make a story which appears to be a complete fabrication, not only brings themselves, but the entire police force in general into dissrepute. That these police are armed carries an extra burden on their part to use lethal force judiciously.

With all due respect, your friends case is a completely different circumstance. In this case, the subject was clearly cisible on an empty street, walking slowly along a footpath. In the case of your friend he would have actually have been fully justified, by the letter of the law, in having shot the man who attacked him. These police were justified too. But by using apparently untrue evidence they destroyed their case.

This has been a disaster for everyone involved.

2nd Nov 2004, 16:12

Please go away and find out a few of the undisputed facts, then comment.

I don't recall, not can I find any mention of 'marksmen', nor would I make such a claim. Irrespective of the fact they hit him.

Dave Martin.

I'm sorry I can't find any mention of the change of story by non police witnesses. The only thing I could find was this:

'Earlier, a witness, Peggy Carpenter, told the jury she saw Mr Stanley lift his right hand towards the officers at a 90-degree angle to his body. She then heard a "crack", followed by another seconds later'

At that point, given the information they had I feel that shooting becomes justified.

You have mentioned that the Officers concocted the story, but I fail to see why they should have done. Even if he had been facing away from them, at the point he rasied the 'object' shooting him becomes justified. The defence against unlawfuol killing is not just that they were in fear of thier lives, it includes anyone elses as well.

It may be that he did not fully understand what was being shouted to him, but the raising of his arm to 90 degrees as described in a street at that time of the day would lead me,would lead most resonable people in the circumstances to believe he was going to shoot. Thus I can't see an unlawful killing verdict being justified.

Knowing the Met as I do, it would be fair to assume that they will probably stand trial for this and no doubt thats when it will become apparent.

Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 16:51
Sadly, the forensic evidence and even the police's evidence about their location doesn't back up this claim that Harry Stanley was facing towards them. It was essentiall ballistics and the second witnesses evidence against Mrs. Carpenters.

The reason for concocting the story I suspect is as such:

The police appear to have fired early just as the subject began to turn. The mere movement of a subject is not sufficient grounds for firing, although you are right, if the officers feared for their lives at that point they would have been covered by the law.

The problem is they over-reacted and fired so quickly. When it became apparent an awful mistake had occured, that they sought to "boost" the threat so as to justify having taken the action when they did.

They would have I am sure, been severely repremanded or suspended if they had fired in self defense at the point where it appears they did, but they were at least covered by the law.

Instead they chose to claim that they were undoubtedly facing imminent death due to the suspect adopting a position and standing in an orientation that he clearly wasn't.

The police chose to use this as the point where they claimed self defense. In essence, the used a flawed story and evidence that was found to be false, as grounds for claiming self defense. They shot themselves in the foot in doing so - by seeking to make their self defense claim rock solid, they had to rely on the lie being believed. Whether they feared for their lives at the point he began to turn became academic as they never claimed that in court.

I agree completely that defense against unlawfull killing is to fear for your, or anyone elses life. But to fear for your life, and to discharge your weapon, as someone begins to slowly turn towards you (and still has their back turned to you) would have left them open to criticism after the fact and as a result, the sought to prevent this.

As I said, if this was allowable, there would probably be police shootings every day.

Armed police carry a responsibility to exercise extreme restraint when confronting someone. They didn't do so in this case, and I suspect they realise this, hence the need to create the story of Harry Stanley adopting a classic firing pose with the table leg point at the second officer.

The police and the two witnesses clearly stated that they saw him moving in a slow manner which again indicates that the police acted far too hastily.

Also, I fail to see how Harry Stanley himself could consider the table leg to resemble a gun. Granted, if you are thinking "shotgun", then a resemblence might be there, but to be walking home after going to the pub, I very much doubt that anyone would think that a table leg could resemble a shotgun and that it would be a good idea to turn around and point it at people.

2nd Nov 2004, 16:54

Sorry old chap, thought we lived in a democracy, did I miss Aunty Tony giving permission to people like you to make comments without anyone having the right to answer.

You started the thread by trying to disclaim the ability of the Coroners Jury, the Jury who found against the tales that were put out by the two policemen involved, in other words, they were not believed, another way of saying they lied, at what ever level a lie is told, facts, in this case Ballistic and deep investigation have shown the two so called Police Marksmen, have been strangers to the truth.

When you can adequately explain why they told a lie or were economic with the truth, then perhaps people like me will stop making comments,

Untill then as Churchill said, " if you can't stand the heat of the Kitchen, then get out", which I think fit's the bill well!


2nd Nov 2004, 17:15

Perhaps you will direct me to where you found this evidence you keep mentioning????

Before you accuse the officers of lying, perhaps you should consider the investigation into the events conducted by Surrey Police. The report of which was considered by the CPS and the Independent Police Complaints Authority, both of who concluded there was no case to answer. This was also the evidence presented to the Coroners jury. Thyere was no new evidence.

Are you saying that there was some conspirecey by Surrey Police, along with the CPS????? Do you not think, if there was some evidence of 'lying' it would be apparent?

Mr Chips
2nd Nov 2004, 17:16
VFR Pilot perhaps you could read my earlier post and address the points that i put to you. (My apologies, I neglected to put yor name at the top)

Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 17:28
BJCC, sorry was that airmed at me and not VFRPilot?

If me, I think the evidence has been made clear to the general public in the first inquest and the second. That is the forensic evidence that points to the bullet passing through the skull from the general rear area. Also the ballistic report indicating that Insp. Sharman was not in fact standing where he claimed to have been standing between the two parked vehicles.

It seems apparent that the officers have lied about the way Mr. Stanley was standing in order to boost their defense. Ultimately it was the job of the jury to discern fact from fiction and they decided that this was in fact fiction.

None of us here can argue with that.

I am not completely up to speed with the mandate of the investigations conducted by Surrey police (Insp. Boxall?), but I suspect they were looking at slightly different situations.

The inquest was a fact finding case and the facts that the police were using were found to be incorrect in their crucial evidence that Mr. Stanley was facing them. This was of absolute importance as this is soley what their defense was based on.

I don't think there is really any evidence of a conspiracy involving the CPS and Surrey Police, but there would seem that Pc. Fagan and Insp. Sharman colluded amongst themselves to produce the "best-possible" story to prevent any blame or reprimand falling on their shoulders as a result of this tragedy.

As I said before, it would appear they dug themselves a hole. I think we are both in agreement here, that if they claimed they fired in self defense because the victim began to turn towards them, then the result may well be different.

All these issues are being ignored by the fact that SO19 unit armed police are now refusing to carry weapons. As was pointed out on the Radio 4 interview this morning, no fault was found with the police action in general, nor necessarily police practice. What has been found lacking by a jury of 9 people was the honesty, honour and integrity of these two officers and for that they have been justifiably suspended.

I am disgusted that officers seem to be hi-jacking this situation, although I suspect they are being missinformed themselves as to the actual findings of the inquest. Again, this reflects very badly on the Met.

On a personal level, I have never felt critical of the Met or indeed SO19 until today, but seeing this unfolding is really appalling.

2nd Nov 2004, 17:36
Dave (Martin)

Whilst I agree that

<In the event, it looks undeniably as though the police acted the instant the subject moved>

the sad fact is that there is no film recording of what ACTUALLY happened with matching time coded officer and public comments to put a true 'picture' together of events.

With regards to my friend - shooting someone who produces a knife would not be classifed as a 'proportionate' response. He had a choice (shoot before the knife became clear whilst it was still being drawn and hope that it was a gun if that makes sense) or not shoot (vice versa).

Disaster yes - of any one persons making? More diffult to judge.


Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 17:50
I agree, there is no film, but the ballistics evidence, even taken with a large degree of windage, overwhelmingly indicates that the subject had just begun to turn towards the officers.

Again, the issue is not of who's making this was. That was made clear at the inquest. The issue is of the police telling something that was untrue and using that as their crucial evidence.

As to your friend, I think you will find the "proportionate" clause of a lawfull killing defense still applies. The law states that in the split second an act may occur the reaction to an imminent threat can not be relied upon to be calculated at the time. The colloquial term used in law escapes me right now, but I can assure you this would have been applied to self-defense.

Lack of "proportionate response" would come into effect if your friend had been attacked by a man obviously weilding, say, a toothbrush from a distance, and if he had shot him in return. In this case it is not proportionate to the threat.

During the case in question, there was never any dispute that the officers were correct in responding with guns to the threat that was perceived.

2nd Nov 2004, 18:16
Dave Martin

No, it wasn't aimed at you. Purely Vfrpilot.

I am still at a loss to find slightly more than the brief details from press reports on the Internet. If you know of somewhere with better info, perhaps you could let me know.

I have to say, that even if the officers have lied, or in fact have a different recollection of events from what did happen, this in itself is not evidence that this chap was unlawfully killed. The evdience I can find from independent witnesses alone would show the shooting to be justified.

So yes, we are in agreement about that.

As regards to SO19 withdrawing thier consent to carry firearms. I don't blame them. From what I gather, they have followed proccedings more carefully perhpas that most people. I would guess that they feel, as I do that the actions of the 2 officers was justified, and as such this verdict takes away the defence of self defence. In view of that, why would they want to carry (and therefore by definition be prepared to use) a firearm leaving themselves open to prosecution. This was my prime reason for refusing to be trained to carry a firearm when I was a police officer.

The following is the CPS press release as to thier reasons for not prosecuting the officers concerned.

It mentions the head wound and possible reasons for the entry wound being not where you would expect it, ie he was shot in the hand first, which could have caused his head to move.

It also mentions the only independent witness, who\'s story seems to coroberate the police officers.

Further more it also mentions that the 2 officers stories are not identical. This has 2 effects, one shows that they cannot have culuded over thier version of events. and second that police officers like everyone are faliable in thier recollections.

Anyway...the press release is as follows:

Following a further thorough review of the evidence, The Crown Prosecution Service has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the police officers involved.

Harry Stanley was shot dead in tragic circumstances in the early hours of 22 September 1999. Surrey Police investigated his death under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority, and a detailed and complex report was transmitted to The Crown Prosecution Service in June 2000. The report addressed, in particular, the actions of the two police officers who caused Mr Stanley’s death.

On 4 December 2000, The CPS informed the Surrey Police and the Stanley family that having reviewed the evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors they had decided that there was insufficient evidence to afford a realistic prospect of conviction with regard to any criminal offence alleged to have been committed by either officer. For this reason, they concluded that criminal proceedings should not be instituted against the officers involved.

Following correspondence, solicitors commenced judicial review proceedings on behalf of Irene Stanley, Mr Stanley’s widow. They argued that The CPS decision not to prosecute the officers for gross negligence manslaughter was legally flawed because it relied on an erroneous conclusion. This was that it could not be proved that Mr Stanley’s death was caused by tactical errors committed by the two police officers.

Having considered the application for judicial review, The CPS agreed to conduct a further review of all the evidence and material submitted to it to decide afresh whether there was a realistic prospect of securing a conviction in respect of any offence.

Accordingly, The CPS has re-considered whether, under the Code, there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against either police officer in relation to any of the following offences: murder, attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent (contrary to section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861), manslaughter by gross negligence or misconduct in a public office.

In doing so The CPS have looked afresh at the entirety of the material and sought, once again, an opinion from Queen’s Counsel, from whom The CPS received lengthy and comprehensive advice. For the avoidance of doubt, that was not the same Queen’s Counsel who had advised in relation to the earlier decision. During the course of the reconsideration, clarification was sought on a number of matters from those expert witnesses who had already provided statements to the PCA investigation. Indeed, the police firearms policy expert provided three further detailed witness statements to The CPS.

Having considered the evidential test identified at paragraphs 5.1 to 5.4 of the Code, The CPS has now concluded that there is insufficient evidence to justify the institution of criminal proceedings against either police officer in relation to any of the above offences.

The case against each officer has been considered separately. However, The CPS has also considered whether, in accordance with the well known principles of ‘joint enterprise’, either officer may be said to be liable for the acts of the other. We have taken into account the application of the Human Rights Act, in particular Art 2 of the Convention.

In relation to the specific acts of the officers, it is clear that Officer 1 fired a shot, which passed through the head of Henry Stanley, resulting in his death. Officer 2 fired a shot, which passed through the left ring finger causing injury to the fingers on either side. It is also clear that both officers intended, at least, to cause grievous bodily harm.

The CPS are obliged, however, to consider any possible defences that might arise and, after careful consideration, have concluded that not only is the defence of self-defence undoubtedly open in respect of murder (and attempted murder and grievous bodily harm), but that it is also available in the case of gross negligence manslaughter. In these circumstances we have considered whether the prosecution would be able to disprove the inevitable defence that the police officers had an honest belief that they or others were in danger of harm and thus entitled to use force commensurate with the danger threatened. In essence, it would be very difficult for the prosecution to disprove the inevitable defence contention that the officers honestly believed that they were facing a sawn-off shotgun and that this threat was of a sufficient degree to merit the use of their guns to defend themselves in reasonable self-defence.

In interview, both officers maintained that Mr Stanley turned towards them, raising an object in his hands, which they believed was a sawn-off shotgun, until it pointed directly at them, This lead them to fear for Officer 2’s life. Both officers stated that they each fired a single shot because they considered that one of them faced an immediate threat to his life. There is, in the material before us, no substantial evidence upon which a jury could conclude that the officers’ beliefs were anything other than genuine. The only independent witness to view the entire scene supports the fact that Mr Stanley turned to face the police officers raising, as he did so, one of his arms in the direction of the police. She says that she saw the man raise one of his arms towards the officers in a deliberate and unhurried manner.

The scientific evidence does not undermine the account given by the officers regarding the events immediately before the shooting to the extent that The CPS considers that there is sufficient evidence of unlawfulness on their part. Although the account given by Officer 1 may superficially be inconsistent with the fact that Mr Stanley’s head was facing 120 degrees away from where he was standing, this does not exclude the possibility that the body and the right arm holding the carrier bag were nevertheless facing the officers, particularly if Mr Stanley was shot in the hand first, causing an unpredictable head movement. Similarly, although the fact that there was no injury to Mr Stanley’s body indicates that he was not holding the bag out directly in front of him, this does not necessarily mean that he was not holding the bag with both hands in the general direction of the police officers.

At best, the scientific evidence may provide some support for the conclusion that the police officers may have been inaccurate or even lied about their respective positions in the street. However, this would not be sufficient evidence from which the jury could conclude that they were acting unlawfully. The prosecution evidence still permits the conclusion that Mr Stanley may have been turning towards them with the table leg in the bag. Accordingly, it would be very difficult to disprove a genuine belief that the officers were facing a sawn-off shotgun. It follows that proceedings for murder, attempted murder or grievous bodily harm should not, be instituted.

Even if The CPS are mistaken as to whether the defence of self-defence is open in principle to gross negligence manslaughter, The CPS have concluded that there is, in any event, insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to its primary elements as set out in the case of R v Adomako [1995] 1 AC 171, This case makes it clear that the prosecution is obliged to prove that there was a breach of a duty of care which caused the death of Mr Stanley and, if so, that such a breach should be characterised as gross negligence and therefore criminal. In this case, it is clear that such issues arise out of the planning and tactics employed by the two police officers.

The CPS have concluded that there is sufficient evidence on which a jury could realistically be satisfied that there were breaches of the duty of care owed by both officers to Mr Stanley, and that there was a sufficient causal link between the breaches and the death. In law, it is sufficient that the defendant’s acts are a significant cause of death, rather than something that is merely “de minimis”, and The CPS are satisfied that there is evidence that this is the case here.

The CPS have also considered whether the fact that there is evidence that the officers shot, or may have shot, Mr Stanley in self-defence is sufficient to break the chain of causation. The CPS have concluded that it is not. Although Mr Stanley had a high alcohol blood reading, he was entitled to turn around upon hearing the shouted command from the police: “Armed police, drop the gun”. Indeed, as he was not carrying a gun at all, he was entitled to place the table leg in whatever position he chose. If the police then shot him in self-defence having left themselves with no option, through their own tactical errors, but to do so, it seems to us that they cannot rely upon the fact that Mr Stanley did as he did as a justification for breaking the chain of causation.

However, in relation to whether there is evidence upon which the jury could conclude that there was gross negligence deserving of the description “criminal”, The CPS have concluded (as has Queen’s Counsel) on the material provided, that there is insufficient evidence upon which a jury could conclude that the actions of both police officers fell sufficiently short of what a reasonable man would have done, placed in the position of the officers. In doing so, The CPS recognise that evidence of recklessness may suffice in establishing such a conclusion, but also that the accused is entitled to adduce evidence that might excuse his conduct.

The CPS have considered whether the actions of either police officer amounted to misconduct in a public office. However, in this case, where there is no evidence of bad faith, The CPS have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for an offence of misconduct.

2nd Nov 2004, 19:49

You state that " Even if the officers lied, or have a different recollection of events", that is not evidence that the man was killed unlawfully"

You are accepting then that the Police lied about this death?

And as for the killing, forgive me for being BLUNT but what in Gods name was it,... justifieable homicide for the carrying of a table leg, failing to stop when shouted at by a unknown voice, failing to realise it was you that was being shouted at, how many more reasons for killing an innocent man, can you or the Police put forward.

No wonder there is no public confidence in the Police force of today when people like you make crass statement's like that.

Just give us all the benefit of a Police mind, what sort of killing was it?

To me, a plain old member of the Public, it was an unlawfull killing, and not called for, the man was walking home from the Public house where he had met his brother.

The two Police men involved need the courts to decide why they killed this man, then perhaps the public may feel that at least justice can be seen in action, and possibly disprove the widely
held suspicion that the Police and the CPS hide many transgressions committed by the Police in the UK as a whole.


Dave Martin
2nd Nov 2004, 20:21
I am not too sure what information is available on the net and would rather not explain my connection with this particular incident. I can say much of what I have seen in the media is reasonably accurate to what was presented in the particulars of this case, albiet missing certain points - some important, some not so.

Unfortunately it makes all the difference that the police officers lied. Not the lie, per se, but the fact that the event they wholly based their defense on, in all probibility and in the jurors opinion, never occurred. That cripples their case.

The jury's job is to accept or dissregard evidence, and it appears that ballistics evidence held more weight than potentially flawed witnesses. The witnesses claimed to really have just seen a snap shot and there was even speculation as to events occuring in the gathering of evidence and statements.

I can understand the SO19 action to a point, but in this case the decision of the court is being criticised, when the decision in no way criticised the every day function of the SO19 unit. The facts and figures bare out that the SO19 unit could proceed just as it has done with absolutely no ill effect from the events in the coroners court. This matter soley rests with the two officers involved.

Anyway, to the CPS report. The first point of note there is it deals primarily with ciminal proceedings. The coroners court was NOT a criminal liability case. It was a fact finding case which was entitled, based on the facts as they were perceived by the jury, to come to 3 possible verdicts. This is very different from what the CPS study into events intended to do.

To be honest, I would rather not comment on other parts of the CPS report, but to say that there are substantial areas of this report that conflcit with evidence given in the second inquest. I suspect this is again due to the different mandate of the CPS report and the inquest.

It is impossible to put more weight to the CPS report while disregarding the findings of the first and second inquests and I feel it is important to view the CPS report from what it is, in context of goal of determining the likelyhood of a successful criminal prosecution. There seems to be a reluctance to accept both inquests (and the high courts decision to quash the first case due to it's one sided nature), in favour of the CPS's decision not to preoceed with a criminal prosecution.

Different mandates, different angles. It can still be the case that no criminal proceedings need to brought and the unlawfull killing results in the suspension of the two officers, an overhaul of ACPO and SO19 procedures (which is already in place if not concluded in many areas) and the whole affair is laid to rest.

Instead there seems to be an over-reaction to the inquests findings which, at the end of the day has been reported as no more than the words "unlawful killing". I suspect many people in no way connected to the case are drawing their own opinions from this verdict which in no way represent the findings of the case. This already seems to be undermining the abilities of the Met and possibly more importantly the lessons that need to be learnt.

2nd Nov 2004, 20:24

Please read what

A. I have written


B. What the evidence says.

Perhaps then you wont make yourself look daft.



You state that " Even if the officers lied, or have a different recollection of events", that is not evidence that the man was killed unlawfully"

You are accepting then that the Police lied about this death?


Please note the words 'even if'

With my CSE in English, even I can work out that the words 'even if' make the statement conditional. Why are you asking therefore if I accept the Police Lied.

No I don't accept it. That is obvious from what I have written.


And as for the killing, forgive me for being BLUNT but what in Gods name was it,... justifieable homicide for the carrying of a table leg, failing to stop when shouted at by a unknown voice, failing to realise it was you that was being shouted at, how many more reasons for killing an innocent man, can you or the Police put forward.

Again, please read the UNDISPUTED evidence. There is NO dispute that there was a 999 call to Police and the witness, discribed to the Controller Room Officer at NSY a shotgun, and what it was wrapped in. You have a low opinon of Police (thats your problem) and I am therefore suprised you assume that they have x ray vision. No Police Officer I knew had the ability to see through a bag. The Officers believed it was a shotgun, because they had been told it was a shotgun, the general shape was that of a shotgun, and therefore it had to be assumed by them it was a shotgun!


Oh yes, the CPS hiding many transgression of Police...

What absolute B******Ks!

The CPS may do many things wrong, and the Police many others....but rest assured the 2 organisations would never hide things for each other....If you have some evidence to back your claim then write to Aunty Tony....or perhaps he's in on it??????


To me, a plain old member of the Public, it was an unlawfull killing, and not called for, the man was walking home from the Public house where he had met his brother


Which is my point in a nutshell....That the Jury did what you have done, he didn't have a shotgun afterall, so they shouldn't have shot him. No, in an ideal world they shouldn't. However, it's not an ideal world, and in the circumstances they were fully justified.

Dave Martin

Sadly not very much is available, which is why I hoped you had found something I hadn\'t.

Unfortunatly its the evidence of the ballistics that seems to be missing, which is whats important from what you have said.

You do however say that the 2 officers have \'lied\'. I would dispute that they have nessesarly lied. There are 2 explanations, one, they were simply mistaken, which is entirly possible. Or 2 that they are correct in thier version, the shot to the hand hit first, which of course could have shifted his position prior to the second round hitting.

A simpler example is I recall a collegue hitting someone with the old style short troucheon. He was aiming for the guys shoulder, but during the swing the chap moved and he hit his head. (The troucheon snapped at this point!) although no serious damage was done to the man, he obviosly complained. The principle is the same, people do move, and what you are aiming at in the begining may not be what you hit as a result of that movement.

It seems The Commisioner is now involved in the SO19 dispute, which is perhaps something he should have done earlier. Not withstanding the courts comments that SO19 can carry on before, it seems they are reluctant to put themselves in a poisition where they could face prosecution.

I\'d agree with your comments on the reporting of the inquest and the public assumptions made after the words unlawful killing were used. And its certainly correct to say that it may not lead to prosecution. Unfortunatly the assumption in the publics mind is that the Coroners verdict is also a pssing of a criminal verdict, which you obviously realise it is not.

As to the CPS report. They have based that press release on the first inquest, not the second, which explains I suppose differences in evidence which you apparently were party too. It does however point out that even if the officers statements regarding position were incorrect, then there is still not much chance of conviction. Thats an unfortunate choice of words..which implies that the defence could use a stratagy to avoid conviction rather than they were justified in what they did rather than guilty...(If that makes sense!!!!)

3rd Nov 2004, 07:35

Sorry I am not an English teacher, and I left school when people had only one choice, so stuff your high amd mighty attitude.

These Policeman told lies, that is what is open from the text available from the second Coroners court, if any person in any authority tells a lie, he, or she is tyring to hide the truth, is that because the truth will show shortcomings in the defence of the two shooters?

Sadly for your agument, ask any member of the public what they think about this case, and you will get a mixed responce but after asking ten remote people who visited my factory yesterday the answer was 9 against the police action 1 undetermined, a little like a jury , eh!

Sadly you seem to be defending something that can only be bottomed out in Court, for the individual policemen I hope the this sort of action would help, but as we are all on the fence looking in, from my uneducated view, this seems to be wrong, and needs to be put to bed in front of a judge


Dave Martin
3rd Nov 2004, 13:00
It's a big call to make that the jury has simply said "unarmed man, shot by police, therefore police guilty".

I think we are actually looking at one inquest jury who clearly (after just one hour of deliberations) disregarded a lawfull killing verdict, followed by a second for who the majority went with an unlawfull killing. To disregard the jury decision is somewhat crass. If that is the bias to which we are working, we should disregard the CPS viewpoint as merely being "pro-police". The jury have sat in on this case for two weeks, heard all the evidence and made a judgement of fact. If the decision had gone the other way, would you be as critical of the jury decision?

As it happens, the evidence from ballistics indicates two things.

Firstly, that the bullet entered Mr. Stanley's head as he walked down Freemont Street. Given the bullet impact with the wall, and the agreed extreme left-most position of Mr. Stanley, allowing for substantial deflection, the bullet can have only come from a certain area. This would be backed up by witnesses. In order to have been hit from this area Mr. Stanley had to have been facing slightly side on, but largely with his back turned to the shooter (Sharman). As such, he had either begun to turn his torso, or turned his head slightly - roughly 30 degrees. Since Fagan was even further east, he would have had his back turned even further to Fagan. This in my mind is very important.

As to the shifting position, shots were reported by a second witness to be almost simultaneous. Even both officers said they didn't know who fired first. If the shots were indeed so close together, I doubt a man as apparently imobile and heavily set as Mr. Stanley would be able to turn more than 115 degrees to the right in that split second. Or, if that he would even turn to the right (that being the direction of the second officer), rather than left, away from the perceived threat. It also seems strange that if the left hand was on the barrel that the round did not continue into the torso of Mr. Stanley.

Also connected is the high probability that the round through the fingers entered and exited in a manner that is not consistant with the hand being in the "classic firing pose". In fact, it is the complete opposite of that. There is potential Mr. Stanley could have been in a reverse firing position with his left supporting hand on top of the "barrel" of the table-leg, but that would seem unlikely to me at least. It is telling that Mrs. Carptenter apparently makes no mention of this, as surely the movement of his left hand would have been the most visible to her (being a lateral movement).

As to the police officers being mistaken. I think they are relying on pretty specific and definate evidence. Not something they would present lightly or could easily be just mistaken about. To turn around and claim that was a mistake seems odd. They are in fact relying on this as it is the evidence that completely clears them of any wrong doing.

The police officers seem to be very unclear about a lot of what occurred: eg. their position at the time of firing, exact location of where they parked their car and the radio calls made.
When the sequence of events is so open to question (did Insp. Sharman make his first radio call after having shot Mr. Stanley or before? Why does he believe he was standing between the bonnet and the rear of the two parked cars when he was nowhere near this?), when they can't remember things that should have been so obvious, it seems strange that they should suddenly have such perfect recollection (not of necessarily the most stressful events), but of the events that provide the best defense.

As I said, I think the findings have been missinterpretted by the SO19 squad members. This is simply a fact of a jury finding fault with the two officers story. I can understand a certain esprit de corps causing the officers to fall behind each other, and it was pretty clear that the verdict would have a massive impact, but it can't be emphasised enough that the verdict is with reference to the two officers version of events only, the jury in no way comments on police training, police protocol or firearms procedures.

As much as the SO19 unit feels uneasy about carrying out their duties it is vital that the commissioner makes it clear to them where they stand. I fear this case is being used as leverage for pushing certain agendas.