In the week after a jury ruled that Mark Duggan was `lawfully killed', despite
not holding a gun when police shot him, the Crown Prosecution Service has today announced that it will not be bringing charges against the Greater Manchester Police officer who shot and killed Broughton's Anthony Grainger on 3rd March 2012.
Grainger, who was unarmed, was shot in a car park in Culcheth during a planned police operation. In the aftermath of the shooting, campaigners called the death an "execution" and demanded that the police officer be charged with murder (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in a press release today, stated that it had "considered whether the firearms officer who shot Mr Grainger should be charged with murder, gross negligence manslaughter or misconduct in public office"…
It ruled out murder as that "would require the CPS, amongst other elements, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that (a) the officer did not honestly believe it was necessary to use force and (b) that the force used was disproportionate in the circumstances as the officer believed them to be. In the circumstances of this case, our assessment of the evidence is that a jury would accept that the officer did believe his actions were necessary and that the level of force used in response to the threat as he perceived it to be was proportionate."
The CPS also stated that there was "insufficient evidence to prosecute the officer for gross negligence manslaughter or misconduct in public office" adding that "It would be inappropriate to explain these decisions in detail at this time."
Neither could the CPS prosecute for corporate manslaughter, it states, "as GMP had no relevant duty of care towards Mr Grainger, which is an essential part of this offence".
Instead, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, is to be charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The CPS press release explains that "there is sufficient evidence to prove that Greater Manchester Police breached the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure that unnecessary risk to the suspects was avoided. It is alleged that an unnecessary exposure to risk was caused by serious deficiencies in the preparation for the police operation.
"In accordance with the Act, criminal liability falls on chief officers of police as corporations sole" it adds "A corporation sole is a distinct legal entity and the person holding the office concerned does not share the criminal liability or have to personally appear in court."
In response, Anthony Grainger's parents Marina and John Schofield issued the following statement…
"Whilst we are pleased that some charges are to be brought as a result of Anthony's death we are bitterly disappointed that the Officer that shot Anthony will not face criminal proceedings. We have not yet had sight of the IPCC Report and reserve our position until we have had the chance to fully consider the IPCC's investigation."
Jonathan Bridge, Partner at Farleys Solicitors LLP, who acts on behalf of Anthony Grainger's family, also stressed that "the family have shown total respect for the judicial process both in relation to the coronial court and the potential criminal proceedings…Losing Anthony was a terrible blow to the family and the pain they have suffered has been massively intensified by the considerable delays in reaching today's decision. The Inquest into Anthony's death is now even more crucial so that the truth surrounding the shooting can be established.
"We find it staggering that 22 months after the shooting the family know nothing more than on the day Anthony was shot" he added "GMP have had widespread access to the IPCC Report and have even leaked this to the Press. The family have not seen that Report."
On behalf of Greater Manchester Police, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "Since Mr Grainger's death 22 months ago, Greater Manchester Police has co-operated fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Coroner. Our sympathies remain with Mr Grainger's family and we deeply regret the loss that they have suffered.
"Mr Grainger's family, and the officers involved, have had to wait a long time for this decision to be reached and we share the frustrations over those delays" he added "However, we understand that it was vitally important that the investigation was carried out thoroughly to establish all the facts. Now that a charging decision has been made regarding the Force itself, it is equally important that these legal processes are allowed to take their course unimpeded in order to seek a resolution for both the family of Mr Grainger and the Force. The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigated this matter independently and we await the official publication of their report."
Wesley Ahmed, who has been running the Justice4Grainger campaign, told the Salford Star this morning that, in the wake of the Mark Duggan decision the CPS decision didn't surprise him…
"This is why I've been campaigning since day one" he said "Out of all the families I've met that have suffered through deaths in custody no-one has managed to beat the system – nobody. They never get justice in this country. That's proven fact. The fight goes on…"
See also previous Salford Star articles on the Anthony Grainger shooting…
Grainger Family Want Answers – click here
Grainger Campiagn on Salford Precinct - click here