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Monday, 4 December, 2000, 16:41 GMT
No charges on police marksmen
police marksman
Mr Stanley was shot by the SO19 armed response unit
Two police marksmen who shot dead a man wrongly identified as a terrorist will not face criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

Harry Stanley, 46, was shot dead 50 yards from his home in Hackney, east London, by two officers from Scotland Yard's SO19 armed response unit.

He had been carrying a wooden coffee table leg in a plastic bag, which the police believed to be a sawn-off shotgun.

The CPS said on Monday that following a review of the case, the two officers would not face criminal charges.

If this can happen to my dad, it can happen to anyone

Jason Stanley
The police who shot Mr Stanley, a father-of-three originally from Glasgow, had been responding to a tip-off from a member of public who had seen him in a pub.

The caller had dialled 999 and said Mr Stanley was an Irish terrorist carrying a sawn-off shotgun

The CPS said in a statement: "It is an established principle of English law that when a man honestly believes he is facing an immediate risk of suffering serious injury, even if that belief is mistaken, he is entitled to use such force as is reasonably necessary to defend himself.

"The CPS took into account the evidence of eye-witnesses and the opinions of medical and forensic experts in deciding whether there was sufficient evidence to prove that the officers' actions were unlawful.

Judicial review

"The CPS considered whether the officers' response was commensurate with the degree of risk which they honestly believed had been created by the threatened attack they believed they were under."

Close consideration had been given to whether a conviction was likely should the officers face trial on charges of murder or manslaughter by gross negligence, the statement added.

A CPS spokesman said the decision could be reversed should new evidence emerge.

Harry Stanley
Mr Stanley left behind a "devastated" family
But family solicitor Daniel Machover said the family would be considering a seeking a judicial review of the CPs's conclusions.

Mr Stanley's son Jason said he was "extremely angry and upset".

"If this can happen to my dad, it can happen to anyone," he said.

"It just proves that nobody is safe on the streets.

"When will somebody be held accountable for their actions?"

'Paper exercise'

Deborah Coles, co-ordinator of the pressure group Inquest, has been working with the family since Mr Stanley's death.

She said: "How can we accept that the shooting dead of an unarmed man does not result in a criminal trial where a jury decides whether or not the actions were unlawful?

"The Human Rights Act should lead to a greater protection of people's rights, particularly the right to life.

"These unaccounted for police killings show that the current system for investigating deaths in custody is merely a paper exercise and unworthy of any public confidence."

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