ECHR says decision not to charge any Met Police officers was justified
THE family of Jean Charles de Menezes vowed not to “give up the fight” yesterday after losing a challenge over the decision not to charge any police officers responsible for the electrician’s death.
His cousin Patricia Armani da Silva had brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights last year.
The family’s lawyers argued that the call not to prosecute any individual over the shooting on July 22 2005 was in breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights — the right to life.
Mr de Menezes was shot seven times at London’s Stockwell Underground station, a fortnight after a series of suicide bombings killed 56 people in the capital.
The Grand Chamber court in Strasbourg found that the Crown Prosecution Service had acted according to its obligations when it investigated the Metropolitan Police officers involved.
Ms da Silva said: “Our family are deeply disappointed at today’s judgement.
“We had hoped that the ruling would give a glimmer of hope, not only to us, but to all other families who have been denied the right to justice after deaths at the hands of the police.
“As we have always maintained, we feel that decisions about guilt and innocence should be made by juries, not by faceless bureaucrats and we are deeply saddened that we have been denied that opportunity yet again.
“We will never give up our fight for justice for our beloved Jean Charles.”
An investigation into Mr de Menezes’s death revealed that he had been put under surveillance by the Met as he lived in the same building as two terror suspects. But judges at the ECHR — in a majority of 13 to four — ruled that the British authorities had not gone against Article 2.
“The facts of the present case are undoubtedly tragic and the frustration of Mr de Menezes’s family at the absence of any individual prosecutions is understandable,” the court concluded.
“The decision not to prosecute any individual officer was not due to any failings in the investigation or the state’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts.
“Rather, it was due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there was insufficient evidence against any individual officer to meet the threshold evidential test in respect of any criminal offence.”