Menezes inquest opens in London

Inquiry to investigate fatal shooting of man mistakenly identified as a bombing suspect.

Jean Charles De-Menezes relatives
Family members of de Menezes arrive at the inquest in London [EPA]

Sir Michael Wright, a former High Court judge, has been appointed coroner for the hearing, in which a jury will hear from two officers who fired the fatal shots.

Suspected bomber

De Menezes was shot seven times on 22 July 2005 by specially trained Metropolitan police officers who had trailed him to Stockwell underground station.

They had followed him from a block of flats which detectives had linked to Hussain Osman, one of suspects from the previous day’s failed bombing campaign.

Jean Charles de Menezes worked in London as an electrician [EPA]

De Menezes also lived in the block, and when he left home in the morning, surveillance officers were unsure if he was their target.

The inquest jury will consider whether or not De Menezes was unlawfully killed.

The two specialist fire-arms officers who shot the Brazilian, codenamed C2 and C12, will be among those who will be speaking for the first time.

The inquest will also hear from the other 17 passengers on the train for the first time.

De Menezes’ mother Maria, and his brother Giovani, are expected to fly from Brazil to attend stages of the inquest.

Manslaughter charges

The inquest’s findings will be closely watched and could bring more pressure for the resignation of Ian Blair, the chief commissioner of London’s Metropolitan police service.

Blair defied calls to quit after his force was found guilty last year of endangering the public over the shooting.

Earlier this month he dismissed a newspaper report that he would be ousted by the end of the year, saying: “The report of my death is an exaggeration”.

Relatives of de Menezes have campaigned for manslaughter charges to be brought against individual officers.

But last December a police watchdog said no disciplinary action would be taken against four senior officers over the killing, saying they could not be held personally responsible for the mistakes that led to the shooting.

The Metropolitan police was fined $364,000 a month earlier, after being convicted of a single charge of breaching health and safety rules which require it to protect the public.

The failed July 21, 2005 attacks were intended to copy suicide bombings that had killed 52 commuters two weeks before.

Source: News Agencies