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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Menezes inquest will be delayed
Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes
Mr Menezes was shot seven times
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have failed in their attempt to block a bid by the Director of Prosecutions to put back the inquest into his death.

Southwark coroner John Sampson agreed to delay the hearing until criminal proceedings against Scotland Yard over the Brazilian's death were completed.

But he said the criminal case must go to trial by magistrates this month.

The family of Mr Menezes, shot dead by police at a Tube station in 2005, said they would fight the decision.

Long delay possible

The Metropolitan Police force is being prosecuted under health and safety laws after the Crown Prosecution Service decided no individual officers would be charged over the shooting.

The inquest hearing was adjourned for one month to allow the case to be sent to magistrates' trial.

It's quite clear that justice delayed is justice denied
Justice4Jean campaign

If this had not happened by then, the matter would be reviewed, Mr Sampson indicated.

But, if the police plead not guilty in the magistrates court, the case could be sent for a crown court trial next year, meaning the inquest would be unlikely to be held before 2008.

The de Menezes family, backed by Amnesty International, had argued that such a delay would be unacceptable.

But representatives of Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald argued there was a risk of prejudice to the criminal proceedings if the inquest took place before the criminal case was resolved.

Family's anger

The de Menezes family's Justice4Jean campaign reacted to the coroner's ruling with anger.

A spokesman said: "It's quite clear that justice delayed is justice denied.

"To have to wait until 2008 for any public investigation process is quite frankly a disgrace and the family will be fighting to challenge all of these decisions to ensure the truth about what happened comes out as soon as possible."

The spokesman said the family was considering all legal options to challenge both the coroner's ruling and the earlier decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge any individual officers over the shooting.

This could include an application for a judicial review.

Mr de Menezes's cousin, Alex Pereira, said the family had been shown "no respect" by any of the official bodies it had dealt with since his death, adding that he was "completely sick and tired" of the process of trying to secure justice for his relative.

Mr Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder on 22 July 2005 after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber at Stockwell Tube station in south London.




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