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Response to verdict in trial of guards for manslaughter following death of Jimmy Mubenga
16 December 2014
Following a 6 week trial, 3 G4S guards, Terrence Hughes, Colin Kaler and Stuart Tribelnig have been found not guilty of manslaughter of the death of Jimmy Mubenga. Jimmy died on 12 October 2010 following face-forward restraint in his seat on a British Airways flight from Heathrow airport to Angola. Jimmy suffered a cardiac arrest during the course of the restraint which lasted 36 minutes. A large number of passenger and cabin crew witnesses gave evidence during the course of the trial and said they could hear Jimmy saying he could not breathe before falling silent .In July 2013, the jury at the inquest into Jimmy Mubenga’s death concluded that he had been unlawfully killed.
Adrienne Makenda Kambana, Jimmy Mubenga’s widow said:
“For the last four years I have fought for justice for Jimmy and our five children. I am shocked and disappointed by the jury’s findings. It is hard for me to understand how the jury reached this decision with all the overwhelming evidence that Jimmy said over and over that he could not breathe.
“I wish to thank those who worked so hard for justice for me and our children. My struggle continues.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“It is difficult to reconcile the verdict with the evidence heard at the trial that over 20 people heard Jimmy Mubenga say ‘I can’t breathe’.
“There needs to be a mechanism for state institutions and the private companies they employ to be held to account when people die. The lack of state accountability over black deaths in custody is a global issue and one that will not go away until urgently addressed.”
Mark Scott, solicitor for Jimmy Mubenga’s family said:
“Cases involving deaths at the hands of officers of the state need to be treated in the same way as criminal investigation into any other deaths.
No family should have to wait for over four years for the criminal process into the deaths of their loved ones to come before the court.”
INQUEST has been working with the family of Jimmy Mubenga since his death in 2010, raising his case frequently in parliament and with national and international human rights bodies. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Mark Scott from Bhatt Murphy solicitors and was represented at the inquest by barristers Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court Chambers and Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers.
‘You have clearly made yourselves a force to be reckoned with, a powerful instrument for good. In the process you have not only achieved real change in an aspect of our common life which would have commanded little attention or esteem were it not for your efforts, but you have at the same time offered enormous support to those bereaved people who long for a clear verdict on the death in custody of someone who means a great deal to them.’
– Dr Peter Selby, President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards