Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE IRWIN
| THE QUEEN (on the application of)
(1) CLAUDIA HICKS
(2) DAVID HICKS
(3) DIONE HICKS
(4) MICHAEL HICKS
(5) WILLIAM MILLAR
(6) BILL PROUDFOOT
|- and -
|SENIOR CORONER FOR INNER NORTH LONDON
(1) OFFICER A
(2) OFFICER B
(3) OFFICER C
(4) OFFICER D
(5) COMMISSIONER OF POLICE FOR THE MOTROPOLIS
(6) INDEPENDENT POLICE COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
(7) GUARDIAN NEWS AND MEDIA LIMITED
Neil Saunders and Rachel Barnes (instructed by Reynolds Dawson Solicitors) for The First to the Fourth Interested Parties
Jason Beer QC (instructed by Metropolitan Police Service) for the Fifth Interested Party
Hearing date: 17 June 2016
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Irwin :
"You know what you've done, you'll get what's coming to you, police are killers, murdering scum … Don't think you're not gonna get what's coming to you after you've killed Hicksy, you'll see mug. The guns are going to come out on the estate."
Proceedings before the Coroner
"Evidence given from behind a screen
(1) A coroner may direct that a witness may give evidence at an inquest hearing from behind a screen.
(2) A direction may not be given under paragraph (1) unless the coroner determines that giving evidence in the way proposed would be likely to improve the quality of the evidence given by the witness or allow the inquest to proceed more expediently.
(3) In making that determination, the coroner must consider all the circumstances of the case, including in particular—
(a) any views expressed by the witness or an interested person;
(b) whether it would be in the interests of justice or national security to allow evidence to be given from behind a screen; and
(c) whether giving evidence from behind a screen would impede the effectiveness of the questioning of the witness by an interested person or a representative of the interested person."
"The four police officers discussed at the PIR are afforded anonymity and will be referred to and addressed as:
Officer A driver of vehicle 1
Officer B operator of vehicle 1
Officer C driver of vehicle 2
Officer D operator of vehicle 2
At inquest, their faces and any identifying features will be visible only to HM Coroner (HMC), the jury, advocates for the interested persons (IPs) and the immediate family of the deceased. No person shall identify them."
"I shall not rehearse all of the submissions made to me this morning, save to say that in essence, the Facebook and other social media postings that have been made have come to light apparently. These were not, the Metropolitan Police Service's legal team was not aware of these before and certainly they were not before, not put before me. And in addition, I have been told and I accept that the officers would be easily recognisable … were they to be viewed in Court by family members. I have found this a very difficult decision to make.
In June 2015, I made the order that witness anonymity should be granted. I see no reason to go behind that now. However, what I have to decide is whether this variation is needed in order to give effect to that order.
It does not seem to me to be likely that family, that immediate family members who are in Court will act in a way that will cause Officers A to D physical harm. However, I accept that they may find it irresistible to pass on or communicate in some way with others the identity of those officers.
I don't make this decision lightly. As I have indicated, it has been very much my wish that family members should see the officers concerned. I am very conscious of the power of being in the same room as the person that one holds responsible for a death. And I am very conscious that there is a personal element that is lost … by not being face to face with that person or with those persons.
However, I am extremely concerned about the safety of these officers. And I think that this is necessary in order to give effect to the order that I made in June of last year."
"Some family members may have been able to recognise one or more of the officers as having been someone they have seen before and believe to be familiar with Henry Hicks, perhaps as someone who "baited" him. … Without the ability to see the officers these family members lose this opportunity. Questioning by their advocates without instructions does not address the issue…"
Lord Justice Gross: