NEWS

Mark Duggan's Family Continue Legal Fight Against Finding He Was Lawfully Killed

02/03/2017 08:32

The family of Mark Duggan, whose fatal shooting by a police marksman sparked nationwide riots, continue their legal battle today against a finding that he was lawfully killed.

They are going to the Court of Appeal to challenge a decision by three High Court judges in October 2014 that an inquest jury was legally entitled to bring in its 8-2 majority verdict.

The inquest jury decided in January 2014 that the 29-year-old was lawfully killed by a police marksman in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011.

The latest round of the family’s fight to overturn the inquest conclusion - arguing that the coroner misdirected the jury - is being heard in London by Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Davis and Lord Justice Underhill.

PA
The family of Mark Duggan are challenging the finding that he was lawfully killed

In October 2015, permission to challenge the High Court decision was granted by an appeal judge.

The judge said there was an arguable case that the jury was applying the wrong test when it decided the officer who fired the fatal shot held an “honest belief” that Duggan was holding a gun, and had acted in self defence.

Eight of the jurors decided the belief was honest, even though Duggan was not armed at the time and had thrown down the firearm shortly before his death.

Lord Justice Sales, giving the go-ahead for the appeal, said he was not saying it must succeed but was granting permission “on the basis that there is a real prospect of success”.

Jack Taylor via Getty Images
Duggan's mother, Pamela, left, listens to Carol Duggan, his aunt, during a protest outside Tottenham Police Station in August 2016 to mark the fifth anniversary of his death 

He said: “I also consider a further compelling reason for the grant of permission is that the shooting dead of a suspect by police is always a matter for careful scrutiny.”

If the family win their appeal, the lawful killing verdict is likely to be quashed and there will be a fresh inquest. The Duggan family have previously said they want an open verdict.

Armed officers intercepted the minicab Duggan was travelling in on the basis of intelligence that he was part of a gang and had collected a gun. He was shot twice by an officer known as V53. One of the hits was fatal.

The jury concluded Duggan, who jumped from the taxi, had dropped the firearm on to grass as soon as the minicab came to a stop - but the officer “honestly believed” Duggan still had a gun at the time he was shot.

At the hearing before Lord Justice Sales, Hugh Southey QC, appearing for Duggan’s mother Pamela, submitted that coroner Judge Keith Cutler wrongly directed the jury to apply the “purely subjective test of honest belief’”, which was the criminal law test for self defence.

Southey argued the jury should have been asked to apply the objective test of “whether V53’s mistaken belief was a reasonable one”.

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