Police chief court case thrown out

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

A top police chief facing prosecution over one of his officers shooting dead an unarmed suspect has had the case against him thrown out of court.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) was due to stand trial at Liverpool Crown Court, charged with failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 following the fatal shooting of Anthony Grainger, 36, in Cheshire in 2012.

Sir Peter, who had pleaded not guilty, had been charged as the “corporation sole” for the force, a legal status that means he is a representative of GMP but does not share criminal liability.

The prosecution case was that GMP made “26 failings” arising out of armed police officers being deployed without any proper intelligence basis for doing so and when the use of armed police was unnecessary or premature.

But following an application by his defence that his prosecution was an abuse of process the prosecution offered no evidence and a not guilty verdict was recorded.

It was argued evidence gathered by police was so secret it could not be shown to a jury and therefore the defendant could not get a fair trial.

The hearing before Mr Justice William Davis at Liverpool Crown Court began on Tuesday but press and public were excluded from the court for much of the time by order of the judge.

Mr Justice Davis also ordered the names of around 30 officers must not be made public.

The police officer who fired the fatal shot has not been prosecuted. And the health and safety case was the only criminal proceedings arising from the death of Mr Grainger.

It was alleged Sir Peter, as an employer, “failed to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure as far as reasonably practicable” that the planning for “the police action leading to the intended arrest” of Mr Grainger did not expose him to a health or safety risk.

As head of the force he faced charges that he failed to discharge a duty under section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in contravention of section 33 (1) of the Act.

Mr Grainger, a father-of-two, was shot dead by a police marksmen as he sat in a stolen car in Culcheth, Cheshire in March 2012.

Police believe he and two accomplices were planning to rob a Sainsbury’s store nearby.

Mr Grainger was unarmed and there were no weapons in the car.

The Crown Prosecution Service has decided the marksman should not face charges for murder or manslaughter because a jury would be likely to accept that he believed his actions were necessary.

Mr Grainger is believed to be the first person to die in a police shooting since Mark Duggan in London, whose death sparked rioting in the capital and other cities across the country.

The CPS said in a statement: “The prosecution brought against Sir Peter Fahy QPM as corporation sole for Greater Manchester Police in January 2014 has today been discontinued.

“The prosecution related to the police planning for, and the police actions leading to, the intended arrest of Anthony Grainger and others. There will no longer be a trial.

“At the time that the charge was authorised, the CPS was satisfied, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, that there was sufficient evidence available to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and that it was in the public interest to prosecute.

“We have considered the rulings made by the judge that there is material which needs to be disclosed in open court in order for the defendant to have a fair trial. After consulting with relevant parties, we have concluded that we are unable to reveal that material for public interest reasons. We are therefore unable to proceed.”

GMP Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, said: “It is now nearly three years since the death of Anthony Grainger during an armed policing operation by Greater Manchester Police officers investigating individuals suspected of being involved in serious criminality. The family of Mr Grainger deserve to understand the events that led to Anthony’s death on that Saturday evening in 2012.

“The coronial process is still to conclude and as such Greater Manchester Police are unable to comment any further on Mr Grainger’s death. The force recognises that will be frustrating for many people, but it is important to respect the integrity of the coronial process so that the full facts can be established without any prejudice.

“Greater Manchester Police wishes to extend its sympathy to Anthony Grainger’s family, who will no doubt be hugely disappointed with the events of today. Today’s decision only reinforces the necessity for a different and more timely process of enquiry into these types of incidents.”

Published: Friday 16th January 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search