Mark Duggan family to learn result of inquest verdict challenge


The family of a man whose fatal shooting by a police marksman sparked nationwide riots find out today if they have persuaded leading judges to overturn an inquest jury's conclusion that he was lawfully killed.

Mark Duggan's mother, Pamela, wants three Court of Appeal judges to make an order quashing the verdict although she is not seeking a fresh inquest.

At a recent hearing in London, Hugh Southey QC, representing Mrs Duggan, said the family's case was that the verdict on his August 2011 death was not "safe".

Mrs Duggan is challenging a decision by three High Court judges in October 2014 that the inquest jury was legally entitled to bring in its 8-2 majority verdict.

The jury decided in January 2014 that the 29-year-old was lawfully killed by a police marksman in Tottenham, north London.

Armed officers intercepted the minicab Mr Duggan was travelling in on the basis of intelligence that he was part of a gang and had collected a gun.

He was shot twice by an officer known as V53. One of the hits was fatal.

The jury concluded that Mr Duggan, who jumped from the taxi, had dropped the firearm on to grass as soon as the minicab came to a stop - but the officer ''honestly believed'' Mr Duggan still had a gun at the time he was shot.

Mr Southey argued before Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Davis and Lord Justice Underhill - who announce their decision today - that coroner Judge Keith Cutler and the High Court "fell into error".

Mr Southey said the coroner "directed the jury that the lawfulness of the lethal force, and the question of whether V53 was acting in self-defence, should be judged solely by reference to V53's honest belief as to the threat posed".

He added: "They were not told that, in deciding whether the belief was honestly held, they should consider whether or not that belief was based on reasonable grounds."

Submitting that the direction was unlawful, the QC said the coroner "failed to direct the jury to consider whether V53's belief was reasonable".

He said the reason a fresh inquest was not being sought was that the "inquest process was a traumatic process and not something the family would wish to have repeated".

Mr Southey told the judges: "No verdict is better than one based on an unlawful direction.

"We submit that if it is unsafe, it is very important that that is recorded."