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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 14:24 GMT
Family may prosecute over fatal attack
Police Complaints Authority
Sussex Police's handling of the case is under review
The family of an accountant beaten to death outside a nightclub four years ago is considering a private prosecution.

Father-of-two Jay Abatan, 42, from Eastbourne, died after a row over a taxi outside the Ocean Rooms club, in Brighton, on 24 January 1999.

He suffered severe head injuries in the fracas and died five days later in hospital, where he had been on a life support machine.

His family has been campaigning for justice ever since and on Thursday said it was considering a private prosecution.

It needs the family to take over and push this forward

Michael Abatan, brother

Two men were arrested within 24 hours of the attack and charged with manslaughter.

But the charges were dropped, and they were later cleared of causing Mr Abatan's brother Michael actual bodily harm.

Somerset and Avon Police is due to report in the next few months on the way Sussex Police handled the case, following a Police Complaints Authority review.

And Mr Abatan's family hopes a date for an inquest will be set for later this year.

Second inquiry

His relatives have called on the police and Crown Prosecution Service to release papers on the original investigation to the family's solicitors, so they can prepare for the inquest and potential civil prosecution.

Michael Abatan said on Thursday: "I think it is now the turn of the family to do something while still working with the police and the CPS.

"It needs the family to take over and push this forward."

The family has appealed for any witnesses to pass information to a second inquiry opened by Sussex Police.


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