07 February 1997

In response to the Police Complaints Authority announcement that two police officers concerned in the death of Richard O’Brien will face disciplinary charges for neglect of duty his family requested that the following statement be issued by their solicitor:

“Some three years after the death of Richard O’Brien his family is dismayed to learn that the only disciplinary charges will be neglect of duty. The inquest jury found that that unlawful force was used and the family are dissatisfied with disciplinary charges which do not reflect the verdict or the evidence.”

Deborah Coles Co Director of INQUEST the advice support and campaign group that helps the families of people who have died in police custody said: “We have always believed that the officers involved in the death of Richard O’Brien should have faced criminal proceedings. An inquest jury in returning a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ at the inquest into his death unanimously agreed that the force used on Richard was unlawful, unreasonable and excessive. INQUEST which monitors these deaths is appalled at yet another failure by the PCA to ensure that prompt and appropriate disciplinary charges are brought. The continuing denial of justice to bereaved families sends a clear message that that these deaths are not taken seriously and that police crime will not be subject to the full force of the law.”