The first day of the second inquest took place at Beaconsfield Coroners Court earlier today. Habib’s family and supporters were in attendance in the public gallery and there was good media representation. Mussarat Habib his wife and the family were represented by Tony Metzer QC from Goldsmiths Chambers and by Tuckers.
Key issues on submissions were agreed at the beginning of the Inquest as there were disagreements about evidence and what is admissible. There was also clarification asked for about how the circumstances of the first inquest’s abandonment would be explained to the jury. Predictably the security issue was raised by Thames Valley Police and their Counsel as a justification for their Officers to give evidence behind screens.
The Coroner made in our view a sensible decision not to allow this to happen, but the attempt to use the current terror threat as cover for this is inexcusable and will be challenged by the campaign.
The experts that were being proposed by the family were accepted after much discussion and an adjournment. In inquests like there is a Jury and this was sworn in in the afternoon. The Coroner gave a background to the death and nature of an inquest and how evidence will be presented.
DC Bazeley was the first officer to give evidence and will be questioned by the Coroner, cross examined by the legal teams and finally the jury. In his initial testimony he struggled to remember some of the actions of his fellow officers. Who did what and how this was coordinated by them all. There was not enough time for the cross examination to begin so he will be returning tomorrow to continue giving evidence.
It was incredibly hard for the family to again hear the details of the restraint and what the police actions were once he became unconscious. The impact of these inquests, hearings and meetings is rarely taking into account but the family have remained strong in their commitment to get answers. #7YearsNoJustice