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Mark Duggan shooting could not have been lawful, court told
The inquest into the death of a man shot dead by police was blighted by legal error, a court heard.
Opening the judicial review of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan this morning, barrister Michael Mansfield, who represented the Duggan family, said that the Coroner, Judge Keith Cutler, had misdirected the jury.
The jury ruled in January that Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police in Tottenham in August 2011, was lawfully killed despite being unarmed.
Mr Mansfield set out the grounds on which the three lawyers representing the Duggan family would state their case.
He said: “In a nutshell the submission is this: how is it that a man who is manifestly unarmed can be lawfully shot?”
Mr Mansfield went on to say that the definitions of lawful killing and unlawful killing had become “racked up” in the coroners written directions to the jury, leading them to return a lawful killing verdict.
Leslie Thomas, also representing the Duggan family, then ran through the testimony of the firearms officer who shot Mr Duggan.
He emphasised that the account was incredibly detailed, and that the officer referred to a “freeze frame moment” and was sure that Mr Duggan had a gun.
Mr Thomas went on to argue that the only two verdicts open to the jury, having decided that the armed officer was mistaken, were unlawful killing or an open verdict.
Mr Adam Straw, the third barrister representing the Duggan family, then presented a series of legal precedents set by the European courts, arguing that in order to have acted lawfully, the armed officer must have had “good reason” to have held an “honest belief” that Mr Duggan was holding a gun.
Lord Leveson, hearing the case, said that the family would have to wait weeks for a ruling, and reminded barristers that the review was not to be confused with a re-hearing.
He added: “We want to listen carefully to all that is said to us during the course of the appeal”.
Mr Duggan was shot after armed officers forced the car he was travelling in to stop, based on intelligence that he had collected a gun
Firearms officers claimed they fired in self-defence after Mr Duggan pointed a gun at them.
The gun was found ten to 20ft away and the jury decided, on a balance of probabilities, that Mr Duggan threw it away from him as police forced his car to stop.
The hearing continues.
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