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Family of shot brazilian loses in court { December 14 2006 }

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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 15:57 GMT
Menezes family lose court battle

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have lost their High Court battle over a decision not to charge any police officers in connection with his death.

Brazilian Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot by police who mistook him for a suicide bomber on the London Tube last year.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was "insufficient evidence" to prosecute any of 15 officers probed.

Three senior High Court judges dismissed the family's challenge to the CPS decision "on all grounds".

Rule of law

Electrician Mr de Menezes was shot at Stockwell tube station, south London, on 22 July, a day after an alleged attempt to detonate bombs on London's transport network and two weeks after the 7 July terror attacks.

His family's lawyers said at a two-day hearing that "the rule of law would be undermined" if no individual officer was held personally accountable.

They called for officers to be prosecuted for murder or gross-negligence manslaughter.

Lord Justice Richards, sitting with Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Mackay, ruled it was a "reasonable" decision for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the CPS not to order prosecutions on the basis that they were "likely to fail".

In a written judgment the court declared there had been no violation of human rights.

'Usurping jury'

The family's lawyers later said they were "very disappointed" and would seek an appeal to the House of Lords.

The CPS decided against individual prosecutions but the office of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner will be prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act. If found guilty, the Met would face an unlimited fine.

Michael Mansfield QC, appearing for the family, accused the CPS of "usurping the role of a jury".

Jonathan Crow QC, acting for the CPS, said he sympathised with the family but that the police believed at the time Mr de Menezes posed a threat and they were acting in self defence.

'Continue fight'

Outside the court Mr de Menezes cousin Patricia Armani da Silva said the family's battle "will never stop".

"Today is a sad day for my family. I am heartbroken. We believe the judges came to the wrong decision," she said.

"We were shocked to hear all the new evidence that was revealed in court over the two-day hearing.

"We heard how the police made mistake after mistake on the day they killed my cousin."

She added: "We will continue fighting for justice until someone is held responsible for my cousin's murder."

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