Media win right to name police officers in Taser death inquest

Media outlets have won the right to name five Greater Manchester Police officers who wanted to remain anonymous at the inquest into the death of a man shot with a Taser, Jordan Lee Begley.

 

Coroner Nigel Meadows had made an interim anonymity order preventing the five officers from being identified. Last week, lawyers for the five officers and for Greater Manchester Police sought to extend the order so that the officers could not be identified at the forthcoming inquest into Mr Begley's death.

 

Four media organisations opposed the application and sought to have the anonymity orders lifted - Guardian News and Media, Associated Newspapers, ITV and the Press Association. Caoilfhionn Gallagher acted for the media organisations.  They argued that the evidence relied upon by the officers was weak, speculative and exaggerated, and that granting the applications would be a serious departure from the common law principle of open justice and the requirements of Articles 2 and 10 ECHR.  Public accountability and transparency are vital features of an effective inquest, at common law and under the ECHR.

 

Lawyers for Mr Begley's family and the IPCC also opposed the police application.  The Home Secretary and TASER International were also represented at the hearing.

 

Mr Meadows has now issued a ruling, holding that the anonymity orders should be lifted, the officers should be named and give evidence in open court.  He ruled that, "by no stretch of the imagination can the evidence relied upon... be described as corroborated, contemporaneous, persuasive, compelling or cogent."

 

He has temporarily maintained the anonymity orders in order to allow the police officers or GMP to apply for a judicial review of his ruling, if they seek to do so.

 

Further information is available from the Guardian here.

 

There has been further reporting on the case, for example by the BBCITV, the Lancashire Evening Post and the Manchester Evening News.

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