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Thursday, June 4, 1998 Published at 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK


No action over death in custody

Shiji Lapite died in custody at Stoke Newington police station in 1994

The Crown Prosecution Service has reaffirmed its decision not to prosecute police officers over the death of Shiji Lapite, a Nigerian asylum seeker.

Mr Lapite, 34, died after a struggle with police in Stoke Newington in December 1994, and was found by an inquest to have been unlawfully killed. However, after re-examining evidence, the CPS upheld its original decision that no action would be brought.

A spokesman said: "In the absence of evidence to show that the actions of the police officers either singly or in concert were a substantial cause of Mr Lapite's death, there is not a realistic prospect of conviction."

At the inquest one police officer admitted kicking Mr Lapite in the head. He was found to have up to 45 injuries, and died from asphyxiation after being held in a neck-hold.

The CPS agreed to review its decision not to pursue charges following pressure from Mr Lapite's family, and an admission last July from Dame Barbara Mills, Director of Public Prosecutions, that her lawyers had made errors.

The Police Complaints Authority said it would now consider its own disciplinary action.

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