This is an inexplicable decision by the Crown Prosecution Service. I do not even accuse them of succumbing to political pressure, as it is inexplicable politically as well as legally.
If there are insufficient grounds to prosecute the officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes, the CPS should say why. I have no doubt that you or I, were we to have shot him under the mistaken belief that he was a suicide bomber, would face prosecution. A jury would decide if our mistaken belief gave rise to a defence (self-defence?) which would mean we were not guilty of murder.
There could be no question of a manslaughter charge here. There was clear intent to kill. The two components of murder are the actus reus - the action of killing and the mens rea - the intent to kill. Both were clearly present on the facts as reported. Murder was committed unless the accused has one of the valid defences, e.g. provocation, self-defence or insanity.
If there had been evidence that Jean Charles were a suicide bomber about to detonate himself on a tube train, then I have no doubt that a jury would see the shooting as an act of self-defence on behalf of themselves and the whole community. They would be heroes. But they or their fellow-officers trailed him for a long time; watched him on and off of a bus (no concern about the passengers there?) and must have seen that he was lightly clad with nowhere to conceal a bomb belt.
They have a case to answer. Anyone else would have to answer it. Much though we may have sympathy for the needs of police officers making "split second decisions in the face of danger", there is no reason to keep this from a jury, still less to conceal the identities of the killers.
The family and their supporters have retained a leading QC and I expect him to advise them to commence a private prosecution. "Murder will out" as Chaucer remarked. I think I have made it clear why the CPS decision is legally wrong. If they were (and I do not allege this of my learned friends as it would be quite improper) succumbing to political pressure from the whore of Downing Street, that would be a political misjudgment too.
If the officers had been promptly brought before a jury, I think 12 good men and true would have had sympathy with their plight. No-one would think the officers were sadists looking for casual opportunities to kill. The jurors would understand (having felt it) the atmosphere of fear bordering on paranoia in London after the 7/7 bombings. The jury would have leaned over backwards to find a way to acquit.
A jury in a private prosecution, having the facts presented to them by the barrister for a grieving family denied the opportunity of justice by a State complicit in the alleged crime, may well be less sympathetic. With the passage of time, jurors will be less emotional, and more inclined to consider - for example - the standard to which the police and Crown Prosecution Service expect householders in fear of a burglar in their home to be held when using force. Why should trained officers whose only function is to use force in a crisis be held to a lower standard than that?
The men who put seven bullets in the head of an unresisting, innocent man held down by another police officer were not making split second decisions. They could see in front of them a man who was clearly unarmed. The best explanation that can be contrived on the known facts is that they were acting on orders which, in the excitement of the moment, they failed to question. Their blood was up and an innocent died.
If there is something the CPS knows that we don't, it should publish it - now. And we should know the names of the officers that - by its decision - the CPS is saying are innocent. Justice must be done, and seen to be done. The policemen concerned are citizens, living under the same rules as the rest of us, not henchmen of the State to be shielded from the light.
No officers will face charges over Menezes killing - Britain - Times Online