'Officers failed to make obvious decision to prevent death of Mark Duggan' (From Haringey Independent)
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Michael Mansfield told inquest officers failed to make 'obvious decisions' to prevent death of Mark Duggan
Officers failed to make an “obvious decision” which could have prevented the death of Mark Duggan, according to his family's lawyer.
Michael Mansfield QC told the jury of the inquest into the death of Mr Duggan that the fatal shooting happened because the police operation was badly planned.
It was also revealed that immediately after Mr Duggan’s death, police claimed he had opened fire on officers but later denied this.
Today, Mr Mansfield cross-examined Detective Chief Inspector Michael Foote, who was the senior investigating officer in operation Dibri.
The operation involved putting Mr Duggan and five other members of the Tottenham Man Dem gang under surveillance as they were believed to be involved in gun crime and drug trafficking.
Mr Mansfield told the jury that Mr Duggan’s death occurred because of “flawed planning, that was in turn based on a failure to assess and implement accurate intelligence because of deficient supervision”.
Mr Duggan was shot dead by police officers after he was stopped in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, on August 4, 2011.
Officers claimed they opened fire in self-defence because he was allegedly carrying a gun which they believed he was about to use.
The incident occurred as Mr Duggan was returning from picking up the gun from Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, in Vicarage Road, Leyton.
The family’s lawyer presented evidence which suggested that the armed officers, who were based at Leman Street, in Whitechapel, could have arrived at Vicarage Road before Mr Duggan.
This would have allowed them to prevent a gun from being handed over or allowed officers to stop Mr Duggan and get the gun off the streets in a safer environment.
Mr Mansfield said officers failed to make the “obvious decision” to do this.
As a result Mr Duggan was stopped “near a busy shopping area” in Tottenham Hale which put both officers and members of the public at risk. DCI Foote said officers were already on their way to a base in Wood Green, called Quicksilver, when the police received intelligence that Mr Duggan was preparing to set off to pick up the gun.
Mr Mansfield pointed out that the officers left the base at Leman Street at 5.15pm and the intelligence was received at 5.20pm.
He said it would therefore have been simple for the officers to change direction and arrive at Vicarage Road “within 20 minutes” with their sirens on.
But because they continued to Wood Green they were forced “to play catch up” leading to the fatal incident.
The inquest continues.