16 October 2017

Empress State Building
Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR
Opens Tuesday 17 October 9.30am - scheduled to last 4 days 
The hearing is open to the public

A Metropolitan Police disciplinary hearing will take place on 17 October, examining whether the actions of four police officers relating to the death of Henry Hicks amounted to gross misconduct. Henry suffered fatal head injuries in a road traffic collision involving the officers on 19 December 2014.

The Chair of the disciplinary hearing has granted the four officers anonymity in the proceedings and has ruled that the family cannot be in the hearing room to hear the evidence. The Chair has determined that the family will have to sit in a different building watching via a video link despite the obvious difficulties this poses in terms of understanding the evidence, giving instructions to their solicitor or being able to adequately participate in the hearing process.

This is the first time INQUEST is aware that a family has been excluded from a police disciplinary hearing room following the death of their relative since the change in legislation in 2015 requiring all police disciplinary hearings to be held in public.

The inquest jury returned a critical narrative conclusion in June 2016, finding that Henry died as a result of a road traffic collision. The four officers who pursued Henry all stated in their evidence that they did not seek authority to pursue as required under the SOP on pursuits as they did not consider they were in a police pursuit.  The jury concluded that Henry’s attempts to avoid the police had contributed to his death, and further that the police were in pursuit of Henry as defined by the Metropolitan Service standard operating procedure (“SOP”).

For full information on the circumstances of Henry’s death see the press release following the inquest conclusion here.

The Hicks family said:
“We are extremely disappointed with the Chair’s decision to exclude us from the room. We feel as though we are being treated as if we are in the wrong. We are the victims, we have lost our precious Henry.”

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:
“This is a case of significant public interest in relation to police pursuits. The process for holding police to account must be an open and transparent one. Justice cannot be served if the family are excluded from participating. It is clearly not possible for a family to be part of the process while viewing behind a screen, cut off from their legal representative.

The Hicks family have been the subject of the most intrusive scrutiny since Henry died and to now be told they somehow pose a risk to the very process of accountability they have fought tirelessly for, feels particularly cruel.

INQUEST is concerned by the increasing use of anonymity orders at police related inquests and this latest decision suggests a railing back by the Metropolitan police to the Government’s recognition for the need for transparency at disciplinary hearings.”



For further information, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]

INQUEST has been working with the family of Henry Hicks since before the inquest. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and Jesse Nichols of Doughty Street Chambers.

The Met police hearing notice with full details of the alleged misconduct can be found here.