Transcript of the Pre Inquest Hearing 28 January 2013

Please refer to the PDF version of this transcript for line and page numbers

IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICT
GREATER LONDON CORONER’S COURT


Before:

THE CORONER

Monday 28th January 2013


PRE-INQUEST REVIEW TOUCHING THE DEATH OF

MARK WAYNE DUGGAN

____________________


Transcribed from tape by
Ubiqus
Official Court Reporters
Cliffords Inn, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1LD
Tel: 020 7269 0370
Fax: 020 7831 2526
 
Monday, 28th January 2013

CORONER’S OFFICER:  Coroner, this is a pre-inquest review touching the death of Mark Wayne Duggan.  From left to right we have Mr Michael Mansfield QC, Mr Leslie Thomas and Mr Adam Straw representing Ms Semone Wilson, the family of Mark Duggan and also representing Ms Precious Douaihy.

We then have Ms Anne Studd QC and Mr Barnabas Branston representing the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.

We then have Mr Ian Stern QC for Russell Jones & Walker representing the Police Federation member.

We then have Mr Robin Tam QC for Independent Police Complaints Commission.

We then have Mr Matthew Butt for Z51 Firearms Commander.

We then have Ms Samantha Leek QC for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, SOCA, and lastly Mr Ashley Underwood QC for the Inquest Team.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much indeed.

Right, well, Mr Underwood, may I address you firstly –

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  – really just to set out the position as to why I am here in this seat today?  As many of you know the Coroner in this area, Mr Andrew Walker, set today’s date for the start of the full inquest hearing.  However pursuant to a request made by Mr Walker to the Lord Chief Justice and the Minister of Justice I was identified as a suitable judge to hear the inquest hearing, and indeed on 9th January of this year I was appointed to conduct that inquest as Assistant Deputy Coroner.  I explained very briefly that this is because only a judge of a certain level can have access to any sensitive material which may have a bearing on the inquest.

Very quickly I should say I appointed a team to assist me.  I am already indebted to you, Mr Underwood, and those with you, becoming part of the team as counsel to the inquest.  However it was also immediately clear to me that the inquest hearing was not ready to start as a full inquest hearing on the proposed original date.  This is clearly very regrettable.  Mr Duggan’s family and loved ones had every reason to expect a speedy investigation into his death.  They also have every right to have a full and thorough investigation, and indeed, as I would hope, for that to be conducted with a jury with all the evidence being heard in public.  There have been reasons for some of the delay, and indeed at the moment I understand that we still await the final report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Therefore at this stage, Mr Underwood, I would be very grateful if I could ask you, the advocates have in many ways been introduced to me, but for you to deal with the advocates here and any applications concerning interested parties.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.  There are only two issues arising Sir out of the representation.  The first of those is that Mr Stern currently only slated to represent V53 –

THE CORONER:  Right.

MR UNDERWOOD:  – applies through his solicitor for the other CO19 officers also to be interested persons, and for him to represent them.  I have no difficulty with that.

THE CORONER:  Well I have seen the letter.  Is there anything that you would want to add to that at all?

MR STERN:  No thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  I mean it seems perfectly appropriate that I should grant that request –

MR STERN:  Thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  – and so I allow that to happen, and for the moment, Mr Stern, I assume you will continue to act for all the CO19 officers as you request through that letter.

MR STERN:  That’s correct Sir, yes.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much.

MR UNDERWOOD:  And the second of those matters is Ms Leek, who sits to my immediate left, was introduced as acting on behalf of SOCA, as indeed she does.
THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR UNDERWOOD:  They presently do not have interested-person status, and they too are seeking it.  Again I have no difficulties with that.

THE CORONER:  Right, Ms Leek, anything you want to say further than you already –

MS LEEK:  No thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  Again I have received a letter on behalf of SOCA legal team requesting that, and I have considered it, and I think it is perfectly appropriate that you should have that status.

MS LEEK:  Thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  Thank you.

MR UNDERWOOD:  The only other matter, for avoidance of doubt Sir about interested-person status, is that there was some question of the Chairman of the Azelle Rodney inquiry –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR UNDERWOOD:  – being an interested person.  He’s not, and doesn’t seek to be –
 
THE CORONER:  All right.

MR UNDERWOOD:  – an interested person.

THE CORONER:  Well just for the avoidance of doubt then I will clarify that that is not the position so far as that is concerned.

Right, well having done that I think, Mr Underwood, I would be very grateful if you would very briefly outline the present position as you see it as counsel to the inquest, and what plans there are to progress matters towards a full and proper hearing.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Certainly Sir.  I’m very conscious that we having come to this inquest as it were late in the day, against an expectation that it should have started today, the family deserve a fairly thorough answer to that.  Mr Duggan’s death was clearly untimely and tragic.  It resulted from being shot by the police, so is a matter of some public concern.  It’s the death which is widely thought to have been the catalyst for the riots in London and elsewhere in August 2011, so it’s a matter of national importance as well as of urgent importance to the family and loved ones.  It may assist you therefore to sketch out a little of what’s known about the death as well as what we propose to do in order to assist the investigation.

Mr Duggan was in a minicab in Ferry Lane on Tottenham at about six o’clock on 4th August 2011 when that minicab was stopped by armed police of the Metropolitan Police as part of a pre-planned armed operation.  That operation was at least to some degree intelligence-led.  After the minicab was stopped Mr Duggan opened the sliding door on the nearside and got out of his seat onto the pavement.  He was then shot twice.  One of the shots hit his right arm causing only a minor wound and grazing his chest.  The other shot hit him in the chest, on the upper right-hand side.  That was fatal.  We don’t yet know in what order those shots were fired.  I’m so sorry

[Pause]

MR UNDERWOOD:  Sir I’m going to try to avoid unnecessarily gruesome detail as far as I can.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR UNDERWOOD:  I hope not to cause any more distress than is absolutely essential.

As I say we don’t know in what order those shots were fired.  Two officers say they saw Mr Duggan holding what they believed to be a pistol wrapped in something like a sock.  After the shooting a pistol wrapped in a sock was found.  It was found at a distance somewhere between 10 and 20 feet away from where Mr Duggan was shot, and in a grassed area as opposed to on the pavement, and over a fence that divided that grassed area from the pavement.  What the police say is that Mr Duggan had collected that pistol contained in that sock, and he collected it in a cardboard box roughly a quarter of an hour before the shooting from another man.

So we haven’t collected all the papers yet.  We’re not at all in possession of all the expert evidence, as I hope to make clear soon, but at this stage it’s possible to sketch out some issues that are likely to arise during the course of a jury’s determination.  The first of those is what was the intelligence about the pistol, including its whereabouts and Mr Duggan’s intentions about it prior to picking it up.  Secondly, it may be asked why was that pistol not seized from the man who is said to have supplied it to Mr Duggan before he supplied it to Mr Duggan.  Thirdly there are some press reports.  I’m not suggesting that the police are responsible for them, but they may or may not be accurate, and they are to the effect that Mr Duggan was a gangster whose intention with that pistol was to kill someone.  And the question arises: was that in fact part of the intelligence in the hands of the police, and did it inform the plan?  If so, was it true?  And if that was intelligence that was part of the plan, and it was true, it may give rise to the question of why he was not arrested before he was armed.

Fourthly, why was Mr Duggan not stopped as soon as he’d taken delivery of the gun in the box, and before he had a chance to take it out of the box, if indeed that is what happened?

Fifthly, was the stop conducted in a safe place?  As I’ve suggested there was pavement, a fence and then a grassed area, and the question may arise; was it the best place to stop a man who was thought to be armed with a pistol and dangerous if there was a reasonable prospect that he might escape over the fence and into the grassed area?

Next, why was Mr Duggan allowed to get out of the minicab?  As we understand it part of the intention of a stop such as this is to shock the occupants of the car being stopped into submission so that they can be taken from the vehicle rather than take it into their heads to run away.  For everybody’s safety that’s designed into the stop as we understand it, but if so, did something go wrong?

Next, was Mr Duggan ever in fact in possession of the pistol?  It’s notorious that the man who is alleged to have supplied the pistol has been tried for that supply and as part of his defence has been testing the question of whether the gun was put there by somebody else.  That almost inevitably seems likely to be an issue for a jury in this inquest.

Then penultimately, was each of the shots fired at Mr Duggan absolutely necessary?  And finally in terms of general issues I suggest is what happened to all the cars, the guns, the cartridge cases, the bullets and other items of forensic interest immediately after the shooting, and what light does what happened to them shed on the shooting itself?

Now Sir the IPCC has conducted some very extensive investigations into the shooting.  It has disclosed part of the materials in its possession.  It’s not been told what issues may arise in this inquest, and indeed nobody else had until I just sketched them out.  So unsurprisingly the IPCC has only revealed those materials which it thought might be relevant.  We have a schedule of many documents which the IPCC has treated as irrelevant so far, and in the light of the issues I have just sketched out it’s already possible to say that at least some of those so-called unused materials will in fact be of assistance in the inquest.

Turning now to the plan, as I say there is some reason to believe that this pre planned operation was at least to some extent intelligence led, but the evidence about the planning has not yet emerged.  The IPCC has not taken possession of the intelligence materials, let alone has it disclosed them, and for perfectly good reasons.  You must obviously consider the intelligence.  If it turns out to be relevant to the planning then no doubt steps will be taken to put it in a state where it can be used in front of a jury as evidence.  That may or may not be easy or quick.  Ms Leek has taken the opportunity to tell me briefly that she’s going to give every assistance on that, so one could be hopeful.

Now no trace of Mr Duggan’s DNA was found on the pistol, or on the sock which contained it.  Neither were his fingerprints on either of those.  His fingerprints were found on the outside of the cardboard box which was found in the minicab.  Those prints were found on a part of the box which was only accessible if the lid was part way up.  What is not at all clear is whether there were any prints consistent with somebody having lifted the lid.  That’s a matter which we suggest would repay some more careful, or more attention at least with the forensic scientists.

Moving to the gun and the sock itself, they had a moderate amount of what’s called type 3 gunshot residue.  None of that residue was found in the box.  None of it was found on Mr Duggan’s hand, and none of it was found in the waistband of his jeans where there was some reason to believe the police think the gun was when Mr Duggan got out of the minicab.  There was in fact one particle of type 3 gunshot residue in the back packet of the jeans, which is apparently regarded as scientifically irrelevant.  As far as I know no experiment has been conducted with a similar gun, or the same gun and sock, by putting a moderate amount of residue back on them, putting them back in that box, or a similar one, or inside somebody’s jeans, or inside someone’s hand to see whether it’s possible for them to be in all three of those places without any trace being transferred.  I want to have that done on your behalf if at all possible.

Still on expert evidence, there’s a conflict of expert opinion about what could be inferred from Mr Duggan’s wounds in order to show precisely how he was holding his right arm as he was shot.  That’s a matter of some significance to do with the threat which he may have been perceived as posing with the gun.  And again that’s something upon which further scientific work could usefully be done we say.

Mr Duggan was wearing a short padded jacket when he was shot.  There was no bullet hole in the right-hand upper side corresponding with the chest wound.  There was however a series of four holes in the lower-left front part of it, which is said to have been consistent with that part being bunched up and in some way held up over the right chest area.  And again one needs to look at that with great care by way of some sort of reconstruction exercise to test the accounts that have been given here.

In terms of trajectory of the shots, one of the two rounds which was fired and which struck Mr Duggan apparently hit him and then hit another police officer, in fact in the radio, who was apparently standing behind him.  The other shot appears to have ended up inside a plastic bag in the minicab, without putting a bullet hole in that plastic bag, so presumably then having got there through the opening.  I’m not clear yet whether ballistics work was done on the minicab to see whether there could have been a ricochet from the interior.  Again that’s something we’d like to consider with great care when all the materials are to hand from the IPCC.

Then finally on this, the order of firing the shots may of course be significant, because the arm shot was clearly not fatal, and the other one was.  And as I’ve suggested, at this stage it’s not known what the sequence was, or indeed whether the sequence could ever be established.  But that’s something which all reasonable efforts will be made to establish.

Sir, the police and the CPS did a good deal of work in pursuit of the case against the man who is said to have supplied the gun, including a download of the satnav in the minicab, with the aim of reconstructing its routes, and to attribute timings to the stopping in Ferry Lane.  I’m not yet clear whether the same was done for any satnavs or anything else in the police cars so that the timings of the shooting can be juxtaposed with the time that was given by officers and by CCTV and any other coverage there may be.  And that too is likely to repay extra work.  I think it’s well known that the BBC has obtained footage taken from a position overlooking the scene which appears to commence from a short period after the shooting.  The BBC has made that available to the IPCC.  The IPCC in turn has identified one of the persons connected with recording it.  That person isn’t cooperating with the IPCC, and neither is another person thought to be involved in that.  It’s possible that they may cooperate with you, and we will of course make every effort to invite them to do that.

At this stage you have no powers to compel any witnesses, or to compel anyone to give a document.  Now of course so far as the parties in court are concerned, you wouldn’t need any such powers.  It may well be that you will need them for others.  You will indeed have those powers by way of a change in the law in about June of this year, if the inquest were not to start before then.

No suitable venue for the inquest has yet been identified.  It’s not just a question of how busy a court like this is likely to be.  There is the general question of facilities.  The present rule is that the inquest must be held in the area of the death.  That rule too is likely to be changed in the near future, we think around April or May.  Some potential venues have been identified, including, if the inquest were to stay in North London, the Crown Courts, either at Wood Green or at Harrow, or if the matter can be dealt with out of area, then perhaps in the Royal Courts of Justice where there is a court which has been used for similar very difficult inquests, and indeed will be useful in the actual inquest starting in May, as we understand it.

Sir, in terms of other matters outstanding at the moment, some witnesses have indicated they will apply for anonymity, and to give their evidence from behind a screen.  You’ll no doubt also be asked on public interest grounds to keep some parts of some documents out of the public eye, and obviously you’ll need to rule on those matters before the inquest can start.

Now having said all that, can I touch on what Article 2 would require of this?  The first issue on the agenda is indeed whether Article 2 will be satisfied by this inquest, and we trust that it can be.  In order to satisfy the obligation under Article 2 to investigate a death, the inquest has to ensure, so far as possible, that the full facts are brought to light, culpable and discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice, suspicion of deliberate wrongdoing, if unjustified, is allayed, dangerous practices and procedures are rectified, and that those who have lost their relative may at least have the satisfaction of knowing that lessons learned from his death may save the life of others.  An Article 2 inquest must consider carefully whether the force used was strictly proportionate to the aim of protecting persons against unlawful violence, i.e. that it was no more than absolutely necessary, and also whether the operation was planned and controlled so as to minimise to the greatest extent possible recourse to lethal force.  So those two aspects: the absolute minimum force and the planning and implementation.

As I suggest in my submission, in principle those objectives can be met by an inquest in this case, subject to the work that I suggested also is remaining outstanding.  And I’m happy to set out the order in which we would seek to do that work, but I hope it’s clear what it is that remains to be done, and I hope also to communicate to the family that we have every intention of doing that as speedily as is at all possible.

Sir, you’ve circulated a draft agenda.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR UNDERWOOD:  And –

THE CORONER:  Well before I come to the particulars of that I just feel that you having just briefly outlined some of the challenges, if I can put it in that way, that face this inquest, it might be appropriate for me just to call on any of the representatives of the represented parties here this afternoon to see whether any general statement would wish to be made by them, and I will go through it in the order which I have been given, and invite Mr Mansfield, if he wishes, to say anything at this stage.

MR MANSFIELD:  Yes, thank you.

Sir, may I, on behalf of the family, say straight away that they do appreciate already the efforts that have been made by Mr Underwood and those who work with him, because, as you may or may not know, we’ve already had one very productive meeting, and another today in fact with the family, and may I say there is every confidence being voiced in that team to – in their search to attempt to reach the truth, as well as obviously in the ambit of the inquest.  So the family are very grateful for that.

But there is an overarching position which I feel is important to place before you.  It’s not that you won’t be aware of it, because plainly having read materials, some of the materials relating to this, you will be aware of the history, and I don’t intend to go through every step that’s been taken.  But the family’s position is largely one in which they feel very strongly that they have been seriously let down from the beginning.  It’s not something that I express now for the first time; I did express exactly this about 18 months ago when I was standing in this position, although perhaps over there, in relation to the family having lost confidence at that stage, a very early stage, in the Independent Police Complaints Commission.  They had very good reason for that at that point, and this is relevant obviously to the major question of how quickly the inquest can be brought on commensurate with thoroughness and so forth.

Now at that stage they had been seriously misled right at the beginning about what happened at the scene.  Now I’m not going to point fingers, but they were seriously, and that’s been accepted.  Apologies have been made, but it started off on entirely the wrong foot.  Thereafter the right foot was never put forward, if I may put it that way.  What happened was serious malfunctioning of liaison, and serious mishandling by the IPCC of this investigation, leaving you, Sir, and the team that are now taking over, in a serious predicament, so that the questions that have been raised – and we accept all of them; I might perhaps add one or two, but for the benefit of brevity I don’t intend to expand on it now – but we accept the ambit of the questions, but they’re not new.  And I really don’t like to say we’ve been here before.  18 months ago I cross-examined, although examined in the terms of an inquest rather than cross-examined – I was offered the opportunity by Mr Walker to ask Mr Sparrow, who was in charge of the investigation, what he had actually done.  I put the very questions, some of them that have been raised today about the forensics, or the forensic science and the forensic investigation, the most obvious of which is a reconstruction of the scene, which has to happen fairly early on.  In other jurisdictions it happens perhaps within a week.  That did not appear to have been done.  At least we were given answers that were totally inadequate.  And again the questions are on record so it can be seen.  What happened after that, if we may say, was pretty well nothing of import, which is why these investigations now have to start, properly coordinated, overseen, with experts who are asking the right questions: the ones that have not been asked so far.  And of course right at the heart of it was the request to the police to make statements and so forth.  I don’t go over the powers of interview and the IPCC, but very recently at the beginning of this month the new Chair of the IPCC is saying that the reason for delay is that the police didn’t cooperate.  Well when were they first asked?  They weren’t even asked in some cases until not last December but the one before that.  That was six months after the event.  They then said they had to wait for answers.  I don’t go through the narrative that the avenue is absolutely littered with serious, I would call them, misdemeanours, by those investigating this case.

So that is why, when one gets to a situation in which we are told not repeatedly, but more than once that the report, the final report is just around the corner, which the Chair of the IPCC again said on 1st January: ‘It’s about to be finished.’  We would say at this distance of time, it’s a ludicrous situation for them now to be saying it’s about to be finished when in fact the time that they’ve had available to investigate the matter, and if I may say so also after the planning documents – you would think that they’d be interested in the planning from the beginning.  To learn today that they haven’t got those materials we say is lamentable.

Now I put that chapter into, as it were, the melting pot of when does the inquest come on.  The family had a legitimate expectation, if I can use that term, that it would start today.  It was a real struggle to ensure that the date was kept to.  Every attempt was made in a sense to shift the date, to make it later, to make it later.  We appreciate the predicament; the family appreciate the predicament you’re now in and the team is now in.  And so we realise it would be unreasonable to say start today or next week, or even next month.  However what we do say on the question of the date; I leave other issues for the moment –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  – protocols and all the rest of it.  I leave those issues.  I’m just concerned that there is an expedient, an expeditious timetable for this.  We would ask you to consider in the light of the fact that there’s an element of agreement that this inquest might last between six to eight weeks.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  Others may have a different view, but if I take that for the moment.  If that’s right then obviously one doesn’t want to overrun the summer, so considering a date before the summer, and allowing time for all the preparation which we support, then we would ask for consideration being given to early May, or mid-May.  That would leave three months at least before the summer break, which always, we appreciate, leads to difficulties, and working backwards, another hearing to determine other issues before that, in other words end of March, beginning of April.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  The problem about – which we do understand, of the other approach that it’s better to wait and see how it all pans out before fixing a date, is that we have also been there before.  Once that happens there is almost an unconscious relaxation by those who have the, or are charged with, the responsibility of investigation, whether one likes it or not, to relax, because there isn’t a date set, and it gets put back further.  I think everyone would appreciate the difficulty that if a date is set you don’t want to have to disappoint, but on the other hand if no date is set then there’s the risk of slippage on a major scale.  And so despite the difficulties but because of the expectation of the family, I think for them to be able to leave today knowing, as they have faith in the situation that’s now arisen, and I say that quite explicitly, that they would leave with a date that they can focus upon, because there are various factors: it’s a large family and there are all sorts of difficulties, and therefore having that would regenerate faith, which I’m afraid up to now has been very badly damaged, if not lost altogether.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much.  I am sorry to hear much of what you have had to say, Mr Mansfield, but before I reply concerning dates, can I just simply ask others –

MR MANSFIELD:  Certainly yes.

THE CORONER:  – to see whether anyone has anything else that they wish to say at this stage.

Yes.

MR THOMAS:  Sir, Mr Thomas, representing Ms Wilson.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR THOMAS:  Well Sir I start by saying that Mr Mansfield has been restrained.  I shall not be as restrained in relation to what we call shocking; it’s absolutely shocking to find ourselves here today, and to be – and to hear your counsel say that there are further investigations, basic investigations to be conducted, such as reconstruction, the forensics.  May I just add to the list that Mr Underwood quite properly set out when considering an Article 2 hearing?  A couple of things that Mr Underwood didn’t mention, but I know Mr Underwood has them in mind, but I think it’s always better to spell them out.

Firstly Sir, an Article 2 complying hearing has to be timely.  Secondly, there needs to be sufficient involvement with the family, and thirdly, independence.  Right, those weren’t mentioned.  I mention them just for the sake of completeness.  The Jordan/Edwards criteria.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR THOMAS:  Now what we say is in terms of timeliness, the very fact that we were meant to be starting here today, running for the next six to eight weeks, and that has been adjourned, to be put off to some date in the future, and Sir we understand the difficult position that you have been put in, and your team, but we can’t forget, and I would be failing in my duty not to bring to your attention, that it does put in jeopardy whether or not a timely and prompt inquiry can be made which would make it Article 2 complaint.  And I hope you understand –

THE CORONER:  Yes, I understand what you are saying.

MR THOMAS:  – the way I put it.  And so we do mention that.

I’m not going to repeat what Mr Mansfield has said.  I think you can understand the strength of feeling that I certainly have in relation to this, and repeating what Mr Mansfield says will not make it any better or strengthen the argument.

Can I mention two other things just very briefly?  These are things that unless we grasp and grapple with them early can potentially lead to delay, further delay down the road.  Number one, I mention Rule 28 of the Coroner’s Rules.  Just to refresh your memory Sir, I know you have it in mind, but that’s the rule which talks about if the CPS are minded to look at the matters, or the potential criminal investigations, then the Coroner may be under an obligation to delay in inquest pending the CPS’s consideration of criminal matters.  And the reason why I mention that to you is, it is of the utmost importance that we do not have ourselves in a situation whereby this inquest is started without the CPS having made its decision, one way or the other, as to whether or not criminal charges may be commenced or brought in relation to the shooting of Mark Duggan.

And the reason why I mention that is because we still do not have a date for the IPCC’s report, which in turn will lead to whether or not the CPS will consider whether or not criminal charges are appropriate or inappropriate.  We need to bottom that out.  Unless that’s bottomed out there’s a real danger that if we start this inquiry, this inquest, if matters indicate that there are potential criminal charges against the officers in relation to the way that Mark Duggan was shot – I’m not pre-empting the evidence, but I’m just anticipating the arguments that we may well make from this side of the Bar.  We don’t want any adjournments.  We want those decisions taken early on so this inquest can continue smoothly.

The second thing that I mention very briefly is this: it’s a matter for Mr Stern in relation to who he represents.  I haven’t crunched the papers in any great depth because there is no finalised hearing date, but what I mention is this, is the potential for conflict should it turn out that there are conflicts between the individual officers.  What I’m flagging up now is that should any officer subsequently say, ‘Well we are unable to be represented by the same counsel, therefore we need an adjournment’, I would be inviting you Sir to look at any such application – very good reasons need to be given.  So I’m flagging up the potential conflict between the officers now.  So you heard it here first.  That’s all I have to say.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much Mr Thomas.

Right, let us see, Ms Studd is there anything that you would wish to say?

MS STUDD:  Very shortly Sir, we agree six to eight weeks seems an entirely reasonable time estimate at the moment.

THE CORONER:  Yes, thank you.

MS STUDD:  And we agree that timeliness is obviously important –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MS STUDD:  – for everybody who is involved in this inquest.

THE CORONER:  Right, thank you very much.

Mr Stern, anything you wish to say?

MR STERN:  Sir, may I just mention one or two matters?

THE CORONER:  Of course.

MR STERN:  First of all I appreciate the frustration that’s eloquently been advanced by my learned friend Mr Mansfield.  It is one that I think all parties have probably shared, because all of these matters should have been dealt with some considerable time ago, and it’s put a burden on everybody.  That’s the first thing.

Secondly I appreciate that the summary that has just been given by counsel on behalf of the inquest is just that – a summary – and as he fairly said, based on very limited reading.  Obviously there are a number of issues and little purpose in me going through those at this stage.

Thirdly, so far as a date is concerned, obviously it is in everybody’s interests that the hearing moves along and is fixed as soon as possible.  The fixing of the date is absolutely critical so that everybody can work to a timetable.  And lastly I’m always grateful for Mr Thomas’s assistance in – particularly in professional assistance.  Obviously if there is any difficulty or any conflict then any particular individual officer will revert back to my learned friend Ms Studd on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service, so I don’t think that will actually cause any delay at all.

THE CORONER:  Right, thank you very much Mr Stern.

Mr Tam?

MR TAM:  Sir, in the light of my learned friend Mr Mansfield’s observations, I think I should say something about the report.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR TAM:  The promises, no I shouldn’t say promises, the indications that we have given to date about the likely progress of the report have to a large extent been driven by the timetable that has been envisaged by Mr Walker for the commencement of the inquest.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR TAM:  But as has been clear on every occasion that we’ve been before him at similar pre inquest reviews in the past, and in the light of his keenness if possible to have had the inquest start today, one of the things that we have made clear is that if a report had been prepared and completed by today, it would inevitably have had to omit consideration of some lines of inquiry and some evidence that’s been obtained.  One of the things that you may know is that at the first trial of the man who is alleged to have supplied the gun to Mr Duggan, there was evidence given which has generated further lines of inquiry.  The retrial is still in progress as we speak, and the retrial may itself produce further lines of inquiry.  So all of this is going on.  We haven’t been making promises or giving indications only to ignore what we have said.  It is obviously important that the report be as full and complete as possible.  If we had to do it by a certain date, which was the position as at the previous pre-inquest review, then it would inevitably have been an incomplete report.  We now have an opportunity to make sure that the report is as complete as possible and of the greatest possible assistance.

THE CORONER:  And are you able to assist me as to when you are able to get to that?

MR TAM:  Sir I’ve always been reluctant on every occasion to be pinned down to a date for exactly the reasons I’ve given.  And if I may I would like not to do that today, but one thing that I can say is that it is accurate to say that the report is in a very advanced stage of preparation, but it simply isn’t complete, and it wouldn’t be complete if we were to finalise it and complete it straightaway.

Sir obviously, again, as for the future, we –

THE CORONER:  It would be very helpful if, when you say you cannot do it straightaway, that is obviously not this week or next week, but could we have some idea as to when?

MR TAM:  Well we will of course by guided by questions about for example whether you are able to set a date for the inquest hearing today, and –

THE CORONER:  Well then we come to the questions of matters drafting already.  That is the trouble.

MR TAM:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  If we set a date far in the future then you would take twice as long to complete your report than you otherwise might have done.

MR TAM:  We have no intention of letting matters drift, but when evidence is still coming in and some possible lines of inquiry are as fresh as the last few weeks, i.e. during the retrial, it would be foolish of me to try and commit to any particular timescale.  If a timescale has to be imposed on us by the necessity of an inquest hearing then of course we will work to that, but with the dangers that I’ve already identified.

THE CORONER:  All right.  All right, well thank you for the moment then Mr Tam, thank you.  Let us see if there is anything that Mr Butt wants to say.

MR BUTT:  No thank you.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much.  Ms Leek, anything you would like to add?

MS LEEK:  Just very briefly Sir to say that SOCA will of course give all relevant assistance in putting evidence, excuse my voice, in a form that can be adduced before a jury in public –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MS LEEK:  – in order to maintain public confidence in the inquest system, whilst ensuring that sensitive material is protected.  It may well be that material can only be put before you and not your counsel and solicitor, but submissions will be made to you in due course about that.

THE CORONER:  All right.  I will not tax your voice any more, but –

MS LEEK:  Thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  – obviously I rely on you, and indeed everybody to comply as much as you are able, as I am sure you will, with counsel to the inquest, and that will be a very good way of making speedy and proper progress.

Before I talk about dates, what I would like to do, if I may, because the dates are very much part of the draft agenda which I have sent out, if I could go through some of the items on the draft agenda and come back to the issue about dates when we get there, which will be very shortly.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  I am not delaying the difficult decisions, but I know that a draft agenda has been circulated.  I understand that I have received some letters about small parts of it, but not actually very much, and so can I just go through those items on the draft agenda, comparatively smoothly hopefully, and seamlessly?

The first matter is, I express on that draft agenda my complete wish for this to be a jury-assisted inquest, one in which, as we have already heard, Article 2 issues are going to be of importance.  Is everyone agreed that that should be the aim of the hearing today – a jury inquest and Article 2 is engaged?  Does anyone want to make any?  All right, thank you very much on that.

We have already dealt – the second item is to do with the properly interested parties, or people as the case may be, and I think we have now dealt with that.  I do not know if anyone wants to mention anything else about that?  No?

Then we come to the third item which concerns sensitive intelligence, and perhaps I can ask Mr Underwood whether he wishes to say anything about what the plans are in relation to that, more than has been said already.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Perhaps I would help if I encapsulate what’s known so far.  There has been coy discussion over the years about the intelligence in this inquest, and the potential for it to derail it.  We have not yet seen that intelligence.  I’m very heartened, if I may say so, by SOCA coming here today, seeking interested-person status and instructing Ms Leek, and the attitude which she’s shown to you, and have every confidence that that can in fact be dealt with and put in a way that it can be used in a public forum.

THE CORONER:  Right.

MR UNDERWOOD:  And I think nothing more needs to be said about that at this stage.

THE CORONER:  And all I would do is obviously invite anyone who is in possession of any such material, obviously to contact you firstly Mr Underwood, to inform you, and then we will then be able to take the right steps in relation to it.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Certainly.

THE CORONER:  The next matter about general –
 
MR MANSFIELD:  Can I just raise something on that?

THE CORONER:  Yes please.

MR MANSFIELD:  I’m so sorry.  I have explained this before, but it may help at this stage for a factor to be taken into account when considering this aspect, that is item number three –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  – sensitive intelligence.  Now that could cover obviously SOCA material, but it also could relate to RIPA material as well.  I’m putting it in –

THE CORONER:  No.

MR MANSFIELD:  – the acronyms.  One of the caveats that we would ask you to place on this is that it may be that as it’s been expressed it was an intelligence-led in part operation.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be an intelligence led inquest.  Now the reason I say that is that if you, well you may not have had the chance, but when you look at the statements and the evidence so far deposed, remembering that the first trial of the man who is being retried now was done in public – we did raise reservations about that, but no one else did, that it should have been done in public.  It was done in public.  Police officers gave evidence in public without a problem.  The same thing has happened this time, although it would appear the press have taken less interest so far in the case.  However the point about it is this: that at no stage did the key players in this particular matter relating to the key question of how he came by his death – I appreciate circumstances is another part of this – none of them say, either the decision makers or the actors who, well there’s only one, pulls the trigger, say that what actually happened at the scene was determined by intelligence or information.  Putting it simply no one says: ‘I pulled the trigger because I had a picture of this man in such a way that I had no option,’ or whatever, or that ‘it informed my decision as to whether to defend’; that sort of issue, which has arisen in other inquests in which a number of my learned friends have been, as well as myself.

But that doesn’t apply to this case.  Nobody’s claiming that.  So I would ask for care to be taken, and particularly this relates to the first three questions posed by Mr Underwood, namely they relate to planning.  Well it may…  I’m not saying one doesn’t look at that.  I’m not saying that you don’t look at this material.  But one, there’s a caveat on this in other words the real question is to what extent is this other material, whatever it is, truly relevant to the key questions in the inquest?  They might be relevant to other things, but are they relevant to the key questions?  Obviously you know what the key questions are.  So I just place that before you at the moment, and if it – it bears upon a later item, so instead of raising it twice –

THE CORONER:  All right.

MR MANSFIELD:  – I’ll raise it once.  And it’s – well it’s more than one other item; it’s agreeing issues, and obviously relates to protocols in relation to this kind of material.

It may be of benefit for you to know that as far as agreeing issues, as well as provisions for further disclosure, which is item number four, in the past there has been a very, I’m going to call it, pragmatic approach taken by those of us who represent families.  In other words, I give you an example of which my friends are aware; in the Princess Diana inquest there were similar difficulties but they were all overcome in the end by cooperation between the parties and undertakings between the parties.  And we anticipate that if at the end of the day you do feel there is relevant material on the basic fundamental focal questions, then that material certainly will have our cooperation to ensure that the inquest does comply with the Article 2 requirement.  So we give that assurance that that is a way forward, because we’re aware right now, this week, that various matters are being discussed in another house about how to proceed in relation to closed material and so on.  But for the moment I’ll leave those on one side.  So it’s two caveats, that’s all.  I hope they’re helpful.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.  No, thank you very much Mr Mansfield.  All I could say that obviously I have got a lot of work I have to do, but I am very keen if at all possible, if the law certainly allows me, bearing in mind my Article 2 responsibilities, nevertheless to try and keep this matter very much on track, try at all costs to try and keep it within the public domain as a jury-informed and led inquest.  I cannot say any more than that at this stage, but I do understand the position.

Therefore let me come back to you, if I may, Mr Underwood.  We are dealing with provisions for further disclosure, any witness statements really effectively that any other party would wish to offer to the inquest.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  What do you want to say about that?

MR UNDERWOOD:  Only that nobody has yet had the opportunity of self-examination as it were about whether they have documents going to a relevant issue, because until now nobody has suggested what the relevant issues may be.  So what we will do is write to anybody who may hold papers, including the Met Police for example, to say, ‘These are the broad issues we have in mind at the moment.  Can you please run a check now to make sure that everything you’ve got –

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR UNDERWOOD:  – is in our hands.’

THE CORONER:  Right.  Let us keep that in that way because where we are now coming towards – item six is again expert witnesses, which really is covered in that too – is a question about when we should meet again.  This is, before I talk about the final date for the full hearing of the inquest, whether there is some advantage – it has already been mentioned – and I feel myself that there would be every advantage for us to have a further pre-inquest hearing.  Now it would seem to me that it might be quite convenient to have it at the end of term, before Easter.  There is a week, the last few days of March –

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  – which is quite often a week where some judges are winding down; others of course work right up until the very final date, which of course is myself, and I was thinking of suggesting that we might all meet for a day’s hearing on 28th March.  I do not know whether anyone has been warned of this suggestion that I am coming out with, or whether that is convenient or inconvenient, but I am just suggesting it.  We do not want to slow this hearing down by us putting forward different dates.  All I would ask is obviously your convenience will be taken into account.  You can approach the secretariat of counsel to the inquest and it may be that another date can be preferred, but in that area really because that then I would hope, by that time – and I express this as a hope because I am told that a Coroner’s powers of making actual directions or orders, I think I can make directions by consent, but my making court orders in the way that one would in the Crown Court is not really quite open to me – but I would hope that all the various matters that we have just been discussing concerning disclosure, witness statements and such like, and indeed even the IPCC final report, would all be with us really by the end of February.

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.  I know, because I’ve been already in preliminary discussions with the IPCC, who if I may say so have been very accommodating, that we may well be let in to their work in progress, even if we’re not given the final report, so that we’ll get as far as they can get with that at the very least.  And I anticipate that in two months’ time we’d be in a position very firmly to be able to say when this inquest can properly be heard.

THE CORONER:  Well would anyone like to make any comment about the suggestion certainly that we have a next pre-inquest hearing at the end of March, at a date convenient to as many parties as possible?  I am suggesting that the very last sitting day would be the 28th.  With everyone’s consent I would be asking that that could be made.  I think we can do this by consent even before there is any change in the law, by holding that in the Royal Courts of Justice rather than here.  I know that for the moment the full hearing would have to be here, or indeed within the local authority area, which could include either Harrow or Wood Green Crown Courts, but at the same time it would be much more convenient for, I would hope, the parties, that I would listen to any submissions on behalf of the family, if we could have this pre-inquest hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on that day.  Does anyone want to say anything about aiming towards that as a next stage?

MR MANSFIELD:  Entirely acceptable.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much indeed.  Well as I say, if there is any question about the date then please do make your submissions, but by that date I really, really would hope that we could have the IPCC report – in fact I would ask you to aim for the end of February if at all possible so that we will have plenty of time then for people to consider it – that all the other material that we have mentioned would be with us, as much as possible, and I will see what I can do as my part of this, of coming to see material that I am offered to inspect.

Now it would therefore be usual I think for that next hearing, and this would be really item number seven on my agenda, that would be a date by which we then set out a list of issues to be agreed and to fix the final date and time of the full inquest hearing.  Now I am very much aware of what Mr Mansfield said about the family’s concerns.  I am also very conscious of the fact that we have before me today a number of very busy and high-ranking counsel who would no doubt wish to fix their own personal diaries as much in advance as possible.

What I can say about the date is this at the moment: I am afraid, as I say if we are limited to looking at the Crown Courts that I have mentioned then clearly there are already difficulties because of their own lists and their own court commitments, and whilst I have not made any definitive enquiries I am aware that it would be very difficult indeed for us to be accommodated in either Harrow Crown Court or Wood Green Crown Court as early as May or June of this year.  That is one of the difficulties.  If by May or June the proposed alteration of the law is such that we can, some time after that, sit in the Royal Courts of Justice, then I am also aware, and some of you may be involved in this, that it is hoped I think that the inquest touching the death of Alexander Litvinenko, it is I think hoped to begin in May is it Mr Tam?  I think you are involved in it.

MR TAM:  Sir yes.

THE CORONER:  And that would go from May through until?

MR TAM:  Well the time estimate for that is about two months.

THE CORONER:  Yes, so if we were to come after that, I mean I know there may be an ability to run parallel with it, but I think you are involved in that as counsel to the inquiry, or the inquest.

MR TAM:  Counsel to the inquest, yes.

THE CORONER:  Inquest, yes.  It seems to me some advantage – thank you Mr Tam – of thinking within our minds, without setting any final dates for the moment, but of thinking because of those particular difficulties that whilst I am quite happy to leave the matter open until 28th March, at the moment it does appear more likely than not that we will be driven to consider starting the full inquest hearing probably in September.  I think that will be the earliest because on the basis that we are having a jury, August is generally a month where we will try not to force jurors to sit, but it might well have to be in the early part of September.  I am quite happy to look at final dates on the next occasion, but I think that we are almost being driven to that form of conclusion.  I am sorry, but please address me further on this matter.

MR MANSFIELD:  Yes.  No I think the family has, from the beginning, as you may be aware, have been very responsible in the way they have treated the court, and all the information and so on, and they do understand.  But I think if September is, may I put it in the frame, because of the practical difficulties of all the other venues, etc –

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  – leaving aside counsel, but certainly the venues, then, and if we have in mind September, I think the family would feel a little more reassured if the September vision if you like is something that is not left in the ether, that you might be able, in the next week or so, to solidify let us say the Royal Courts of Justice –

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  – as a location, because undoubtedly, well I say undoubtedly, you will then have the power later this year to make the transfer.  So on that assumption I think it’s a reasonable assumption everybody’s making that that could happen.  And if they knew that there were steps being taken – because if we wait until plainly the next hearing and then decide we want September, it will perhaps already have evaporated.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  That’s the only –

THE CORONER:  No –

MR UNDERWOOD:  I’m so sorry –

THE CORONER:  Yes Mr Underwood, please assist.

MR UNDERWOOD:  I know that through the secretariat of your team, investigations are already in place for that.  We’ve asked for the earliest possible date in the Royal Courts of Justice.  I think it’s Court 73, but it may be 76.  I always get it wrong.  And within days I hope we will be offered a date, and if it’s September we will take that date.  We will book it out.  Let’s hope that that we don’t have to un-book it after that, but I hear what Mr Mansfield said.  It’s better to get that date if we can get it –

MR MANSFIELD:  Thank you.

MR UNDERWOOD:  – so we’ve got something to aim at.

THE CORONER:  No, I quite agree.

Sorry Mr Thomas, you wanted to say something.

MR THOMAS:  Sir I was just going to say there’s a real danger if we wait until March, the end of March to have the next pre-inquest hearing –

THE CORONER:  Before we fix a date, yes.

MR THOMAS:  – before we fix a date, I…  It gives certainty.  It’s certainly in the minds of the family, if we can set a date, even if it’s – you know we would prefer earlier.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR THOMAS:  We’ve already said that, but if it has to be in September it would be much better if we fix a date today.  It leaves certainty in everybody’s minds.  You’ve given yourself that little bit of a gap, you know?  We’re not starting before the summer so you don’t have the problem with –

THE CORONER:  The jury.

MR THOMAS:  – the summer vacation, and we can set a fixed date today.  If it’s in September, so be it.  Let’s set the date today.

THE CORONER:  Well Mr Thomas, thank you for that encouragement.  Does anyone want to argue against us?  I am not going to actually fix the actual date, but I can pronounce that it will start in September.  Is everyone quite content for that?  And Mr Tam, if there are any problems with your other inquest we will not play second fiddle to it I am afraid; we will just have to go on.

MR TAM:  Sir, obviously if there is some sort of clash then I will have to work out how we deal with that, work out with those instructing –

THE CORONER:  Obviously you see that there is quite some strength of feeling that this matter has been delayed because of the other case that we have been mentioning –

MR TAM:  Indeed.

THE CORONER:  – and I would not want this to be delayed again because of another separate case.  If we say, right, we will go ahead in September that is what we will do.

MR TAM:  Indeed, and it’s because of the family’s strength of feeling that I’m not at this stage going to raise any personal issues about that date.  Again those are matters which my team and I will have to resolve.

THE CORONER:  All right, thank you very much.

MS STUDD:  Sir could I just say –

THE CORONER:  Yes of course.

MS STUDD:  – at the risk of –
 
THE CORONER:  Ms Studd, yes.

MS STUDD:  – being down-mouthed about it, could you also put in a request to Harrow or Wood Green for September, just on –

THE CORONER:  I am sorry you have just –

MS STUDD:  – just in case Parliament doesn’t bring into force the provisions of the new Act, and we are restricted to maintaining the inquest in this area.

THE CORONER:  Right –

MS STUDD:  Could we put in a pencil –

THE CORONER:  Without mentioning –
 
MS STUDD:  – request please.

THE CORONER:  – Hillsborough one imagines that Parliament are almost bound to have to approach this at some stage.

MS STUDD:  Yes, but –

THE CORONER:  Anyway.

MS STUDD:  – but it would be unfortunate Sir if we get to a point where we can’t be in the RCJ.

THE CORONER:  Yes, then I will make a second approach to the Resident Judge at Harrow –

MS STUDD:  Thank you.

THE CORONER:  – which I think is my preferred destination.  I am quite happy to hear any votes in favour of Wood Green, but I think Harrow is within the area and it has perhaps better facilities; it is a more modern building, and I will also approach the Resident Judge there, and through the South Eastern Circuit Presiders as well –

MS STUDD:  Thank you.

THE CORONER:  – to see if there is something which could be pencilled in.

Therefore what I am now saying then, with as much definition and determination as I can, that this inquest will go ahead in September of this year.  The precise date of that I think that I am quite happy to hear submissions, but perhaps administratively rather than us fixing a date, or do you want actually a date now?  Because it may be – I do not want to turn this into some sort of bargaining process, but at the same time I am quite content if everybody else wished to actually fix a date, for us to do that, or I would prefer myself to say within seven days we will fix a date once we have spoken to the Royal Courts of Justice.

MR UNDERWOOD:  I’m happy to talk to everybody outside and see what we can do rather than have a debate.

THE CORONER:  All right.  Thank you very much.

Right, well that is what I would hope.  The pre-inquest hearing then is at the moment going to be fixed for 28th March.  As it is a pre-inquest hearing my reading of the rules are that we can hold it in the Royal Courts of Justice if everyone agrees.  I have not heard anything to the contrary so that will be in the Royal Courts of Justice, and –

MR STERN:  Sir may I take it that 28th March is not as yet cast in stone?

THE CORONER:  That’s not as yet.

MR STERN:  No.

THE CORONER:  No, that’s my suggested date.

MR STERN:  Yes, thank you.

THE CORONER:  But I am aware that is Maundy Thursday, and I do not want to tread on anyone’s sensibilities, and someone might be collecting money, I do not know, but in any event the position is that it could be moved within a day or two within that week.  Everyone can make their submissions to the secretariat.

Right, let us just continue and finish off then the rest of the agenda.  There was some suggestion about the Attorney General’s undertaking.  I am not seeking that myself.  At the moment I would not wish to pursue that.  I feel that witnesses should be giving their evidence and warned in the usual way, so that is not something I am pursuing.

I would hope that by the March hearing we would have been able to have our list of our proposed witnesses available.  Other witnesses that you would wish also to be called can be obviously submitted and looked at, and we can have a final list, or as final as we can do, by that hearing.

Issues, or numbered items 10 and 11 are just matters about anonymity and the protocol to govern that.  Those are obviously matters which I would like to have the applications comparatively soon if at all possible.  Really I was hoping within the next few weeks – what does anyone feel about that? – and to follow the protocol suggested.

MR MANSFIELD:  No problem –

MR UNDERWOOD:  I’m told that that shouldn’t present any difficulties Sir and we should have that to you in the next few weeks.  Obviously we’ll circulate it to everyone.

THE CORONER:  Yes, and does anyone have any matters that they want to raise on the suggested protocol to govern the way that that should be approached?

MR UNDERWOOD:  No.  If I may say so it seems sensible.

MS LEEK:  Sir, only briefly –

THE CORONER:  Yes of course.

MS LEEK:  – and that relates to whether or not matters can be put before you alone –
 
THE CORONER:  Yes, of course.

MS LEEK:  – or you and your counsel, but that is actually within the protocol, so I just wanted to raise it at this point, but that’s a matter with which we’ll write to you about that.

THE CORONER:  Thank you very much, yes, I am quite happy to deal with that, and then if there are issues that anyone feels require either a hearing or a written submission then obviously I will entertain those in due course.

MR MANSFIELD:  Yes, it might be useful, if there are going to be matters of the kind that have just been raised –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  – that – and if you are going to receive that within the next few weeks, that we are informed as to – I mean this goes back to a wider protocol.  We are given notice, and given the gist, this is anonymity –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  – as opposed to anything else, but if there’s going to be material within an anonymity application, then we are given notice of the gist –

THE CORONER:  Oh yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  – of what is going on so we can make representations, probably prior to the March date, because it may be leaving it rather late.

THE CORONER:  I would hope that this would move through quite quickly on the anonymity, but you are absolutely right.  As soon as we have them you should be informed of them.  If it goes as to material which I may have to see, which can be gisted, then that will also be done.

MR MANSFIELD:  Thank you.

THE CORONER:  But no, that is very important.

MR THOMAS:  Sir can I?

THE CORONER:  Yes Mr Thomas.

MR THOMAS:  Can I raise another issue, but it’s linked to this?  In terms of communications with your team and yourself –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR THOMAS:  – can I ask that we do what we normally do on all of these cases, and that is everybody copies everybody else in so that there is transparency in relation to the communications?  If there is an issue of sensitivity and it is thought that either the material or the submission is sensitive, then I understand that, but if the fact of that is happening, if that could be communicated.

THE CORONER:  Yes, I –

MR THOMAS:  And that works with everybody.

THE CORONER:  I am sure that is right.

Mr Underwood, all this matter will – now we have got our final list of interested persons, they will all be informed of what is going on, will they not?

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.  It will be as transparent as is at all possible.

THE CORONER:  Absolutely.  There should be no –
 
MS STUDD:  Can I just say, Sir, in relation to PII issues, I’m not anticipating that any arise that are of the most confidential nature.

THE CORONER:  Right.

MS STUDD:  And if they do, can I say that we would follow the procedure adopted in the Crown Court –

THE CORONER:  On the PII.

MS STUDD:  – in relation to applications for PII.

THE CORONER:  Absolutely, because then everyone will just be told the category and such like in the usual way.  That will be fine.  Yes thank you very much.

Right, well we have actually dealt with the final issues about making provision and the venue.  There are a few matters which I would just like to flag up for you to think about for the next hearing.  One issue is about the jurors themselves and whether they should be anonymous, and we will think about that next time.  I do not want anybody to say more about it at the moment, but it may be that there may be advantages in having an anonymous jury.  We might also need to look at the extent of special measures directions for witnesses.  Again that can follow on to see what is going on with the anonymity matters.

I think there has been a general discussion about transcripts of the hearings, and the proposal is that there should be a transcription service which will take daily transcripts, which will then be available to all at the conclusion of that day, rather than having a live note type system.  I think that people generally seem to be preferring it live note these days in the cases that I have heard of, but at the same time any other contentions that anyone wants to make about that, then please again address that through the counsel to the inquest, and really any other matters that any of you would wish to raise at this point before we complete.

Mr Mansfield let us – I will keep to the same list firstly to –

MR MANSFIELD:  Yes, no, I was just looking quite carefully to see if you had written it down, but live feed, as opposed to live note.  In other words that Court 76, I think it is –

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  – has got live feed.  It was used, has been used now more than once.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR MANSFIELD:  And that’s important for people who can’t actually be there.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  Or if there’s an overflow from that court, or whichever court it’s in.

THE CORONER:  I think there may well be an overflow court.  Yes, I think there is live feed is there?

MR UNDERWOOD:  We will certainly arrange that, yes.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

Mr Thomas, anything that you would like to raise?

MR THOMAS:  Sir, can I flag up this issue because it will be one that we will be arguing, and that is for the exclusion of witnesses during each other’s evidence, so in particular when we come to the moments and the lead up to the shooting, we will be making the submission that various police officers should not hear –

THE CORONER:  Does that mean that you would wish the live feed to be suspended at that time?

MR THOMAS:  Well if that’s the practical effect of it then that’s something that we will need to address you on, but what I’m saying now is we will be making a submission about the exclusion of witnesses –

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR THOMAS:  – during each other’s…  I’m flagging it up –

THE CORONER:  No, I understand.

MR THOMAS:  – so that everybody’s aware of it.

THE CORONER:  Mr Thomas yes, and what we can do, once we have got a list of the witnesses and the order that we propose to call them, you can tell us which witness you do not want to know about what the other witness said.

MR THOMAS:  Exactly.

THE CORONER:  Then we can look at it and manage it in that way, yes of course.

Right, let us see, anything Ms Studd that you want to raise with me?

MS STUDD:  No thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  No?  Mr Stern, anything?

MR STERN:  No thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  Mr Tam?

MR TAM:  No, thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  No?  Mr Butt, anything?

MR BUTT:  No thank you.

THE CORONER:  No, and then Ms Leek?

MS LEEK:  No thank you Sir.

THE CORONER:  Right, well finally back to you Mr Underwood.  Is there anything else that we can usefully do this afternoon, or does that conclude the agenda for today’s hearing?

MR UNDERWOOD:  I think it concludes it.  If I may end it with thanks to everybody for the cooperation they’ve shown to your team so far, and with every indication of that continuing so that we can actually arrange many of these things, like the PII timings and the anonymity application timings so that they can be dealt with before the next hearing.

THE CORONER:  And can I just say I think as far as today is concerned that the directions that have been made by consent will be written up –

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  – and you all have copies available, do you?  I do not know.  Is there a proposal to transcribe this hearing this afternoon?

MR UNDERWOOD:  Yes, this inquest will have a website which should be available I think as of tomorrow, and the transcript will go on the website.

THE CORONER:  All right, there we are, and there are no other publicity orders restricting today’s hearing.

Yes Mr Mansfield?

MR MANSFIELD:  A very small point.  It’s just to ensure that everybody knows; we have served, certainly on Mr Underwood, I hope you do have it, to save actually spelling it out in public, a list of, may I put it as mainstream ordinary disclosure requests that have not so far been met?

THE CORONER:  Oh right
.
MR MANSFIELD:  And it’s material we say should have been disclosed long before today.

THE CORONER:  Mm-hmm.

MR MANSFIELD:  But we hope therefore in future, and I hope that you do have a copy.  If copies are not available we have brought some extra ones.

THE CORONER:  We do have a copy.  It has not got through to me yet but it will do very shortly.

Yes Mr Stern?

MR STERN:  I’m sorry to delay everyone.

THE CORONER:  No that is all right.

MR STERN:  Sir it just occurred to me, from words that were just spoken by my learned friend Mr Underwood about this as to whether or not it is a good idea for the transcript of today’s hearing to go on the website.  I can’t think of anything that might cause difficulty, but I am just a little concerned about transcripts of these preliminary hearings, which may or may not reach the eyes and ears of those jurors who in due course come to hear the case.

THE CORONER:  Well there has been no publicity restriction on what has happened this afternoon.

MR STERN:  No, that’s true.
THE CORONER:  And so everything has been said.  This is all part of the transparency.

MR STERN:  Yes.

THE CORONER:  I was worried because the jury in this other matter that we keep mentioning, but not by name, is I think still out considering.  As to whether there will be some impact on that other matter –

MS STUDD:  They haven’t actually retired yet.

THE CORONER:  Oh they have not?

MS STUDD:  There’s been an adjournment.  They won’t be retiring until tomorrow –

THE CORONER:  All right, well is that right?

MS STUDD:  – or Wednesday.

THE CORONER:  Okay, well I had a concern about that but no one has mentioned it, so I have just mentioned it so that everyone can be concerned to be rather sensitive about that, but I see no problems about –

MR STERN:  I just merely wanted to raise it.

THE CORONER:  Yes.

MR STERN:  I hadn’t, as it were, considered the matter before it was mentioned just now.

THE CORONER:  Right.

MR STERN:  So I just wanted to raise it in case anyone did have a concern about it, but not.

THE CORONER:  Right.  It does not look as though there is any concern shared.

All right, well then that brings these proceedings to a close.  Thank you all very much.

Thank you.  I will rise.

Court rises.

End of hearing.

----------------------------------------------------

Please refer to the PDF version of this transcript for line and page numbers