On Wednesday 10th July a 23 year old man was shot by Police Officers in Gorton, Greater Manchester using a taser. It would appear that the effects of the taser resulted in the death of this man.
This incident follows various other cases where civilians have died at the hands of the Police. Within the last 7 days a Public Inqury into the death of Azelle Rodney concluded that the Police had no lawful justification for shooting him.
We ourselves are already acting in a matter where Greater Manchester Police have shot and killed a civilian.
The family of the unfortunate man, who lost his life in Gorton, Manchester, will now face very difficult times. Not only do they have to cope with the trauma of having lost a loved one but the circumstances in which he died mean that they will now in all likelihood face years of legal enquiries and investigations.
This matter has already been referred to the IPCC. My own recent dealings with them have shown them to be anything but user friendly. They are a slow organisation; who from past experience frequently fail to adhere to time schedules. The effectiveness of the organisation as a whole is also often called into question.
The family in this case will also face an Inquest and possibly a Public Inquiry. Again these are difficult legal procedures which may take many years to reach a conclusion as to why this man died and whether the Police were culpable.
We are very fortunate in the Manchester area in that we have excellent Coroners who do their best to get to grips with matters of this nature, but it will still take many years for the experts to get to the bottom of why this man lost his life.
We at Farleys have an Actions Against the Police and Inquest Department which specialise in claims of this nature. It is one of the few areas where Legal Aid is still available to the bereaved families. Not only do we help them through the Inquest and Public Inquiry process, but we are consequently able to bring claims against the Police if they have been found to act improperly; to include claims for breaches of the Human Rights Act.
These are incredibly difficult cases and whatever the result of any inquiry, little will be able to compensate the family for the loss of a loved one.
By Jonathan Bridge, Police Complaint Solicitor, Manchester