29 July 1998

Royal Courts of Justice 30th July 1998 9.45am

The Court of Appeal will deliver their reserved judgement on the appeal to have a fresh inquest into the death of Mr Douglas. The Court heard the appeal on 20th July 1998. Lawyers for the family of Wayne Douglas who died in police custody in December 1995 in Brixton Police Station sought to quash the verdict of accidental death returned after a three-week inquest in December 1996.

The jury at the inquest found Wayne Douglas had died of “left ventricular failure due to stress and exhaustion and positional asphyxia.... following a chase and a series of restraints, in prone position, face down, as used in current police methods”. The family’s lawyers argued that the Coroner made errors in his summing up to the jury on what they needed to find before they could consider an unlawful killing verdict reflecting gross negligence/manslaughter.

In July last year It was accepted in the Divisional Court that the error was made but without the benefit of sitting through the evidence heard at the three-week inquest he decided the Coroner would have been wrong to leave such a verdict to the jury anyway and did not order a fresh inquest.