Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Jean Charles de Menezes: Coke law

You’d have thought that the Metropolitan Police would have considered themselves lucky to get off with just a health and safety prosecution after their shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube in July 2005. You might even have expected them to accept some sort of responsibility for a young man’s unnecessary death and save the expense of a trial by pleading guilty.

Instead they’re in the process of concocting some cock-and-bull alibi for what the prosecution has called the ‘catastrophic’ series of errors leading up to the shooting. Central to their efforts to get themselves off the hook, it became clear today, is the pathologist’s testimony that he found cocaine in De Menezes’s urine.

The Met’s counsel, Ronald Thwaites QC, asked the pathologist if cocaine had the potential to cause ‘abnormal or unusual behaviour’. He replied: ‘It is a euphoric drug. It is a drug that lifts your mind, it is a stimulant drug. It can make you do things that to somebody who hadn’t used the drug might seem inappropriate and it can make people behave aggressively.’

On this testimony, we might ask why the police officers who pumped seven bullets into De Menezes’s head and shoulder from point-blank range weren’t tested for the stuff on the spot.

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