8 January 2014

The jury in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan concluded today that he did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot.  They also unanimously agreed that there were failures in planning and the gathering of intelligence prior to the shooting.  The jury concluded, by a majority of 8-2, that he was lawfully killed.  The full inquisition can be accessed here.

In a statement, the family of Mark Duggan said:

“We are shocked by the jury’s conclusion given the evidence we have heard over the past few months.  We will continue to fight for justice for Mark.”

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:

“The jury’s conclusion is both perverse and incomprehensible. We cannot have a situation where unarmed citizens are shot dead on the streets of London and no-one is held to account.

“The death of Mark Duggan is one of a number of fatal shootings by police that have raised profound concerns about operational planning and intelligence failings in firearms operations, where the use of lethal force has been disproportionate to the risks posed, and where the safety of the public was put at risk. Despite a pattern of cases raising similar issues there has been an institutional failure to implement the necessary learning to safeguard lives in the future.

“There is widespread frustration, anger and high levels of community consciousness about the lack of accountability after deaths following contact with the police. The misinformation, lies and mistreatment of the Duggan family and the perception that the police can act with impunity were at the root of the widespread disturbances around the country that followed. Public confidence in the justice system can only be restored if the law is seen to apply equally to all.

“This finding calls into question whether or not families of those who die following the use of force will ever find justice and accountability in the current system.”

Marcia Willis Stewart, solicitor for the Duggan family said:

“The jury has found that Mark Duggan was unarmed at the point at which he was shot. 

“The jury’s finding demonstrates that the officer lied about this. We cannot countenance a situation in which an unarmed citizen is shot on sight.

“Whilst the law provides a defence for an officer to hold an honest and reasonable belief for the purposes of lawful killing, that is not this case.  The officer always maintained that he was sure that Mark Duggan had a gun-shaped item in a sock. 

“The jury found that there were failings in the way the police conducted the gathering and actioning of evidence.  Had they done their job properly this fatal shooting could have been avoided.

“The family will, however, continue the fight for accountability.  They will be seeking an urgent meeting with Rachel Cerfontyne of the IPCC, their MP David Lammy, and Keith Vaz MP, in order to ensure the IPCC, who have to date failed in their responsibility with regards to this investigation, carry a vigorous review.

“The family’s lawyers will be considering the legal position.”

INQUEST has been working with the family of Mark Duggan since his death in August 2011. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Marcia Willis Stewart and Cyrilia Davies from Birnberg Peirce solicitors and barristers Michael Mansfield QC of Mansfield Chambers, Leslie Thomas of Garden Court Chambers and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers.


Notes to editors:

  1. Background to the police shooting of Mark Duggan can be found here
  2. There have been 54 police shooting deaths since 1990, 21 involving the Metropolitan police.  9 of the 54 deathshave been of people from BAME communities.
  3. There have been 10 unlawful killing verdicts at inquests or inquiriesinvolving deaths in police custody or following police contact since 1990.  There have been eight attempts to prosecute police following a death in police custody or following contact in the same period, none of which have been successful.