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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK
Jury deliberates over Met safety
Sir John Stevens and Lord Condon
The officers deny the charges
An Old Bailey jury continues deciding whether two police chiefs breached safety after two officers fell through roofs while chasing suspects.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens and his predecessor, Lord Condon, have denied four charges of breaching the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.

The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the death of Pc Kulwant Sidhu.

He was killed when he fell through a roof in Twickenham, south-west London, in October 1999, when Lord Condon was Met commissioner.

Another officer, Pc Mark Berwick, survived after falling through a roof in May 2000 - after Sir John took over as head of the force.

Prosecutor William Norris QC told the trial they had been charged individually because "the buck stops with them".

Not worth the risk

The prosecution centres on the assessment and management of the risk of falling from or through roofs.

The HSE argued that only in very exceptional circumstances is going on a roof worth risking an officer's life.

But Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, said the HSE had attempted to turn the commissioners into criminals.

It raised the issue whether the HSE in future would "direct and dictate to the police how they say they should do their job".

During the trial Mr Justice Crane ordered the jury to find Sir John not guilty of one of the counts.

Met chief defends safety record
15 May 03  |  London

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