Mark Duggan inquest jury retires to consider verdict on whether shooting was lawful or unlawful

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

Jurors in the Mark Duggan inquest have now retired to consider their verdict.

Coroner Keith Cutler finished his summary of the evidence today and told the jury they must decide if the 29-year-old was killed lawfully or unlawfully - and their verdict must be unanimous.

Mr Duggan was shot dead by an armed police officer in Ferry Lane, Tottenham on August 4, 2011, after the minicab he was travelling in was stopped as part of an police operation to tackle gun crime.

The officer who shot him claimed he opened fire in self-defence when he saw Mr Duggan point a gun at him.

However, when the police searched Mr Duggan's body they found no gun.

A gun, wrapped in a dark sock, was later recovered between 10ft and 20ft away in a grass area behind a wall.

Mr Duggan's death sparked riots across Tottenham which later spread across the country.

On Monday, the Coroner asked jurors to consider five key questions before making their conclusions:

  • 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 reminded the jury they would have to be sure “beyond reasonable doubt” when answering the final question.

But he said the remaining questions are to be decided on the balance of probabilities, 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."

Mr Cutler added: "This is not a trial, it is not a method of apportioning blame on an individual. It's a public method of establishing facts, and getting to the truth."

During the inquest, which has lasted more than two months, it has been revealed that only two of around 15 officers who were at the scene at the time of the shooting claim to have seen Mr Duggan holding a gun.

There has also been conflicting evidence about how the gun ended up in the grassy area, with some witnesses claiming to have seen police plant the weapon.

The jury also heard that there was some confusion about how the crime scene was managed after the shooting, including different officers claiming to have found the gun carried by Mr Duggan at different times.

Mr Cutler said: “We have lots of people finding the gun but not telling anybody else that found it.”

The jury of three men and seven women have been told they must reach their decision unanimously.

Jurors could take up to a week 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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