Jean Charles de Menezes family in European court challenge

The family of a Brazilian man shot dead in London by police who thought he was a suicide bomber have taken their legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights today.


Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician, was on his way to work when officers mistook him for a suicide bomber amid a bungled Metropolitan Police surveillance operation in south London. Mr de Menezes was held down and shot seven times in the head on a Tube train at Stockwell station.


Henrietta Hill QC and Adam Straw, together with Michael Mansfield QC and Hugh Southey QC, are instructed by Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce on behalf of the family of Mr de Menezes.


They will argue that in those cases where state agents have taken life, the current assessment used by prosecutors in deciding whether an individual should be charged is incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to life.  They also argue that the law of self-defence - which allows an officer to rely solely on an honestly held belief as to the need to use lethal force, even if that belief is objectively entirely unreasonable - is not compatible with Article 2. The case only involves fatal offences, and they do not argue that there should be any change to the current tests so far as people who are not state agents are concerned. 


Media coverage of this issue is available:

To view the Grand Chamber hearing broadcast please see here.


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