Judge Keith Cutler tells jury to answer five key questions about death of Mark Duggan

Haringey Independent: Mark Duggan was killed in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, after a taxi he was travelling in was stopped during an intelligence-led police operation to tackle gun crime Mark Duggan was killed in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, after a taxi he was travelling in was stopped during an intelligence-led police operation to tackle gun crime

The jury in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan has been asked to answer five key questions to establish whether he was killed lawfully or unlawfully.

Judge Keith Cutler told jurors their answers would help “establish the truth” about what happened when the 29-year-old was shot dead by a police marksman on August 4, 2011.

Mr Duggan was killed in Ferry Lane, Tottenham, after a taxi he was travelling in was stopped during a police operation to tackle gun crime.

Mr Duggan’s death sparked riots in Tottenham which spread to the rest of the country.

The five questions jurors were asked to answer were:

  • Did the Metropolitan Police Service and Serious Organised Crime Agency do their best to gather and react to intelligence about the possibility of Mark Duggan collecting a gun?
  • Was the stop conducted in a location and in a way so as to minimise recourse to lethal force?
  • Did Mr Duggan have the gun with him in the taxi immediately before the stop?
  • How did the gun get to the grass area where it was later found?
  • When Mr Duggan received the fatal shot, did he have the gun in his hand?

Mr Cutler told the jury they would have to be sure “beyond reasonable doubt” when answering the final question.

But the remaining questions were to decided on the balance of probabilities, which is a lower burden of proof.

The coroner warned the jurors to ignore their opinions or prejudices and base their conclusions on the evidence heard.

He said: "You must be careful before you make conclusions about Mark Duggan's character - no one is on trial here, least of all Mark Duggan."

The officer who killed Mr Duggan claimed he opened fire in self-defence after he saw the 29-year-old pointing a gun at him.

During the proceedings, which have lasted more than two months, police said no gun was found on his person when they searched his body.

A gun was later found wrapped in a dark sock in a grass area between 10ft and 20ft away from the scene where the shooting took place.

Mr Cutler asked the jury to consider what the officer, known as V53, was thinking of Mr Duggan before the stop.

He said: “Did V53 honestly believe he needed to use lethal force to defend himself when he shot Duggan?”

However he stressed that there was no need for the police marksman to prove that he needed to defend himself.

It could take up to a week for the jury to give their verdict on whether or not the use of lethal force by police officers was absolutely necessary.

The inquest continues.

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