Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Police Kill Wrong Man but No One Punished; Trial of Senior Officers Halted after Marksman Cleared

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Police Kill Wrong Man but No One Punished; Trial of Senior Officers Halted after Marksman Cleared

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL CHESTON

THREE senior police officers who were involved in planning a bungled drugs raid which led to the shooting of an unarmed man walked free from court today.

The dramatic collapse of their trial follows a not guilty verdict on the police marksman who pulled the trigger killing James Ashley, who was naked, in front of his teenage girlfriend, who was also naked, in a flat in Hastings in January, 1998.

As a result, nobody has been convicted in the shooting despite two inquiries by the Kent and Hampshire forces which compiled a staggering indictment of policing in Sussex. This included: lPrima facie evidence of criminal malfeasance, as well as falsehoods, prevarications and discreditable conduct by Chief Constable Paul White-house, which led to his suspension, although he was later reinstated.

One report found that Whitehouse had "wilfully failed to tell the truth as he knew it".

lFour disciplinary charges alleging neglect of duty and falsehoods against Deputy Chief Constable Mark Jordan, who is still suspended.

lOrganisational failures and fundamentally flawed practices before and after the shooting.

lA plan to deceive and concoct intelligence to justify the fatal armed raid.

lA totally discredited technique, unique to Sussex Police, of carrying out the raid.

The whole operation amounting to "A complete corporate failure in duty to society."

In addition, a Home Office Inspec-torate report never before made public found Sussex Police's ability to deliver policing in the lowest quartile in 18 out of the 19 categories of performance.

Today Mrs Justice Rafferty added her criticism of the Sussex hierarchy by telling "those having responsibility for implementing, seeing compliance with and monitoring good practice as to the use of firearms they bear a heavy burden".

Full details of the two trials can only now be reported because of legal restrictions.

Ashley, a local drugs dealer, was shot at virtually point blank range by Pc Christopher Sherwood, one of the five firearms officers briefed to expect to be confronted by an armed and dangerous suspect sitting on a cache of cocaine. …

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