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Mark Duggan: now there’s no doubt the police are above the law

Police helmetTrials or inquests by jury are the most democratic means of bringing a legal process to a conclusion. Recruited from the electoral roll, jurors provide an important corrective to magistrates and judges, who might be hardened by the number of cases that come before them and/or be out of touch with the pace of modern life.

Juries aren’t perfect by any means. In their turn they are open to manipulation of evidence by skilled barristers, can be bamboozled by expert testimony, and are subject to judicial direction. They can also reach “perverse” conclusions by ignoring the instructions of the judge or the provisions of the law, resorting instead to common sense or the dominant logics that emerge through their process of deliberation.

Unfortunately, today’s verdict that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed certainly does count as perverse. I don’t know whether Duggan was or wasn’t a gangster, or whether he was in possession of a fire arm or not. But the story sanctified by the jury had him carrying a gun before the police stopped his minicab. That he was then separated from his gun – it was probably discarded before the police confronted him. Therefore the jury accepted he was unarmed when he faced his pursuers. And yet, despite accepting this version of events there was nothing unlawful about Duggan’s death. The jury felt that the police were correct, under the law, to shoot.


Shooting incidents involving the police are rare – there have been six occasions in London over the last four years that the police have shot someone. Some may be justified, some not. But when there is a case to answer, isn’t it peculiar how not one has led to the prosecution of a serving officer? Readers will recall the appalling death of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station. Not only was he shot seven times in the head while being restrained by officers, but the subsequent IPCC showed that the police involved lied about his movements and actions. The Met were found guilty for his killing under health and safety legislation and fined, but there was “insufficient evidence” for a prosecution against the officers responsible.

The Met can apologise all it likes. As far as young people on the inner city beats are concerned, this episode demonstrates that the force is above the law. It shows that even when a someone is known to be defenceless, the police can still get away with murder. And, again, when white officers are shooting dead a mixed race boy it’s easy to see how the Met’s will-to-racial inclusivity is met with incredulity and contempt by those on the receiving end of their policing.


  1. John reid says:

    The Met hasn’t apologised about Duggans death,they have said they are sorry that he died,as for JCM the reason there wasn’t a prosecution for Murder or manslaughter was that it was impossible for there to be a certain individual to be seen as the one that had had committed murder,as the actual PC who shot him,was following orders based on (faulty) evidence that they had been given that this was the person who there opus day had tried to blow up people only a few days after 56 people had been killed,

    You say you don’t know whether he was in possession of a fire arm or not,well I’ll tell you it was filmed that he just bought a firearm,he was seen getting I and cab with a fire arm,and the jury concluded completely that he had the fire arm with him when the Cab pulled to a stop,

    The IPCC report afterward for JCM concluded that Ian blair was misinformed about him wearing ad padded jacket and jumping the barrier ,and. The jury didn’t believe the police who shot his evidence that how they shot,not believing a P.C.s words and finding that someone is lying are two different things,

    The death of Jean Charles Demenez was a terrible thing s a completely innocent young man, Mark duggan was a Yardie with criminal record who was suspected of murder ,known for having guns ,and was on the way to shoot someone else, you didn’t like the juries decision, did you nor like the juries decision to find Stephen Lawrence killers guilty?

  2. Dave Roberts says:

    Well said John Reid. What this writer and others on the far left are trying to do is use the totally unconected deaths of De Menezies and Harry Stanley to completely obfuscate the whole situation.

    There was a gun in the car and he was a known gang member and drug dealer. He was related to the notorious Noonan family in Manchester who are also well known drug dealers and who have been involved in at least twenty five murders across that city and the North West.

    This one isn’t going to fly and if David Lammy wants to get involved to protect his black vote he can forget any further advancement in politics.

    The nonsense about the Tottenham community being outraged is just that, most people up there are just too afraid to speak out.

  3. Dave Roberts says:

    One of my neighbours saw Lee Jasper rambling on about police murderers on the telly. He had a map of Africa as a pendant apparently. Well he should be the kiss of death for the campaign, all it needs now is Livingstone. I’ll bet Doreen Lawrence stays well away from it. Any supporters will be hasbeens or wannabees.

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