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Barrister Shooting Appeal Allowed

Independent Police Complaints Commission


A High Court judge has dismissed a claim by the family of barrister Mark Saunders that the investigation into his shooting by police is unlawful.

But Mr Justice Underhill expressed concern about the practice that allowed police officers to confer with one another before recording their first accounts of the shooting.

He said this might be unlawful, and risked institutionalising the opportunity for collusion. He gave permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal.

He was told at the hearing last month that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) inquiry was flawed because officers involved in the siege at the lawyer's Chelsea flat were allowed to confer before recording their accounts.

Tim Owen QC, representing sister Charlotte Saunders who brought the case, told the court the issue was whether this was compatible with human rights laws.

He said: "There can be no doubt that the present practice means that there is a substantial risk of collusion and of contamination."

He said the IPCC had provided further opportunity to confer by organising meetings attended by groups of officers to put the questions to them.

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Ifti Manzoor from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "It is fundamentally important that there should be no opportunity for police to confer with one another - this sends out the wrong message. It is vital for there to be public confidence and to ensure alleged collusion between officers is a thing of the past."