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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 11:08 GMT
Police tribunal over death probe
Jay Abatan
Jay Abatan was an accountant with two young children
A senior police officer is facing a misconduct tribunal after the death of a man outside a Brighton nightclub.

Jay Abatan, 42, from Eastbourne, was attacked while waiting at a taxi rank outside the Ocean Rooms club in 1999.

Manslaughter charges brought against two men were dropped because of a lack of evidence.

The officer appeared at Sussex Police headquarters in Lewes on Monday to answer questions about how he led the investigation.

Five-day coma

Complaints by Mr Abatan's family that the killing had not been investigated fully prompted two reviews of the inquiry by Essex and Avon and Somerset Police.

In May, an Independent Police Complaints Commission report into the inquiry found key officers had made crucial errors in the early stages of the investigation.

Failings were said to have included not interviewing key witnesses.

Two detective inspectors are also due to face a misconduct tribunal at a later date.

Mr Abatan's family have said they intend to launch a civil action against the police

The tax specialist, of Nigerian descent, was attacked on 24 January 1999, as he waited at a taxi rank with his brother Michael.

At the time, his family said it was a racist killing, although officers said they did not believe the attack was racially-motivated.

Charges dropped

The father-of-two, who was celebrating promotion with PricewaterhouseCoopers, hit his head on the pavement and lay in a coma for five days before his life support machine was turned off.

Graham Curtis, 41, and 39-year-old Peter Bell were arrested within 24 hours of the assault, but manslaughter charges against the pair were later dropped.

They were instead charged with affray and causing actual bodily harm to Michael Abatan, but were acquitted.

Mr Curtis hanged himself at his Brighton home last June.

Death probe police face hearing
09 Sep 04 |  Southern Counties
Report on Abatan police due
07 Oct 03 |  Southern Counties
Former suspect in Abatan case dies
10 Jun 03 |  Southern Counties
New row over 'race' killing
12 May 00 |  UK News

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