Following the acquittal on 16 December of the G4S guards charged with the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga, barrister Frances Webber, chair of the Institute of Race Relations and author of Borderline Justice: The Fight for Refugee and Migrant Rights (Pluto, 2012) focuses on the judge’s decision to rule inadmissible evidence pointing to endemic racism within G4S.
After the acquittal of the guards charged with Jimmy Mubenga’s manslaughter, the judge told the jurors not to be concerned if they later read about evidence excluded from the trial. What should we make of this advice?
On 16 December three G4S guards were acquitted of the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga, who died on 12 October 2010 under restraint on a plane during his deportation to Angola. Terrence Hughes, Colin Kaler and Stuart Tribelnig had been on trial at the Old Bailey for manslaughter by gross negligence, on the basis that they disregarded their duty of care by keeping Mubenga in a compressed position in his seat for over half an hour, ignoring his cries that he could not breathe.
Should we be surprised at the verdicts? No. In all the dozens of deaths in custody involving undue force researched by the IRR over the last twenty-five years, no one has ever been convicted of homicide. And where an inquest jury, after seeing and hearing incontrovertible evidence, has brought in a verdict of unlawful killing (which has happened at least nine times), heaven and earth are moved to reverse the verdict and/or to ensure that the CPS does not bring a prosecution of those involved.
On this occasion, following the inquest verdict of unlawful killing, the CPS did decide to prosecute the three men, in a reversal of its previous position that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute anyone involved – the CPS’ default position when it comes to deaths in custody. Read the rest of this entry »