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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 14:04 GMT
No charges for police over shooting
Harry Stanley
Harry Stanley was unarmed when he was shot dead
Armed police who shot dead a man carrying a wooden table leg will not face criminal charges, the Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed.

Harry Stanley, a 46-year-old grandfather, was shot in the head and hand as he walked home from a pub when police marksmen wrongly identified him as a terrorist.


Today's decision is wrong, and unless there is a change in the future more innocent people will be shot dead by the police

Jason Stanley
The marksmen claimed they thought the piece of wood was a shotgun.

The CPS said it considered charges against the officers ranging from murder to misconduct in public office, but there was insufficient evidence for a case against them.

Mr Stanley's son Jason the decision was wrong.

"Unless there is a change in the future more innocent people will be shot dead by the police," he said.

The officers who shot the father-of-three in September 1999 had been responding to a 999 call from a member of the public. The caller saw Mr Stanley in a pub and said he was an Irish terrorist carrying a sawn-off shotgun.

'Self-defence'

The CPS ruling follows a 12-month review of an earlier decision not to press charges against the two officers.

In a statement it rejected a prosecution because "it would be very difficult for prosecutors to disprove the officers honestly believed that they were facing a sawn-off shotgun".

"This threat was of a sufficient degree to merit the use of their guns to defend themselves in reasonable self-defence."

It said there was no "substantial evidence" to suggest the officers' beliefs were "anything other than genuine", and advice had been sought from a top barrister about the chances of securing a conviction.

No justice

After Thursday's ruling Terry Stewart, of the Justice for Harry Stanley Campaign, told BBC News Online: "The family are shocked at the decision and the total absence of justice yet again presented to them."

Deborah Coles, co-director of pressure group Inquest renewed calls for an independent inquiry.

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

A statement from the Metropolitan Police Service extended its sympathies to Mr Stanley's family.

It said public safety was of paramount importance, but added: "Met firearms officers have a challenging job.

"They are often called to deal with dangerous situations where they have to make difficult and often split-second decisions."


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See also:

20 Apr 00 | UK
Death of an East Ender
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