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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 09:53 GMT
Family's anger over Ashley files
James Ashley
James Ashley was shot at close range by police in January 1998
The family of a man shot dead by Sussex Police during a raid has criticised the force for not releasing its case files.

Sussex Police received a request to see papers under the Freedom of Information Act, but refused saying copying and legal costs would be too high.

James Ashley, from Liverpool, was unarmed and in bed when he was shot dead in Hastings in 1998.

On Tuesday, his brother, Tony, accused the force of trying hide the report with a "bogus argument".

"It doesn't surprise me that they are refusing to release the report," he said.

"Sussex Police has tried to cover this up at every step, and this is no different. The argument about cost sounds bogus.

"It makes you wonder what information is contained in that report that they are so desperate to keep quiet.

"It makes me think there is a real can of worms that Sussex Police is terrified of opening."

Legal costs

Police said the file in question contained 30,000 pieces of paper which would cost 3,000 to photocopy.

The costs of releasing the file would also include lawyers' time to examine the papers to work out which sections could be released.

Police said that although the request, made under the Freedom of Information Act, was turned down, there was a right to appeal.

A spokesman said the force was unable to reveal who made the request.

Naked and unarmed

At the time of the raid, police entered Mr Ashley's flat and shot him after incorrect intelligence reports suggested he might be armed.

The naked man died after being shot in the chest.

Three senior officers were cleared in 2001 of wrongdoing in the raid.

The shooting of Mr Ashley led to the chief constable at the time, Paul Whitehouse, resigning.

Sussex Police's new Chief Constable, Ken Jones, travelled to Liverpool to apologise to the Ashley family in 2003.

No files released on Ashley death
14 Feb 05 |  Southern Counties
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04 Jan 05 |  Magazine


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