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Campaigners 'vindicated' by IPCC ruling in Habib Ullah case
THE family of Habib Ullah said their campaign has been “vindicated” by a police watchdog’s decision to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The Independent Police Complaint’s Commission announced yesterday its investigation had concluded and the file had been passed to the CPS to consider charges against five officers and a solicitor.
Mr Ullah suffered a cardiac arrest and died on July 3, 2008, after being restrained by officers who were trying to force drugs out of his mouth in Sharrow Vale, High Wycombe, an inquest in 2010 was told.
The inquest was later abandoned after the coroner was informed police officers had been advised to alter parts of their statements by a solicitor.
Zia Ullah, Habib’s cousin, said: “We feel reassured that the IPCC have referred Habib's case to the CPS after so long.
“But this is only one step and both bodies have a great deal to do to restore our confidence as a family and with the other families who have had to wait years for answers to the death of a loved one.
“We hope that CPS will make a decision in a timely manner and that justice will prevail. It vindicates our decision to keep fighting despite indifference in some quarters.”
IPCC Deputy Chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, yesterday apologised to the family for the distress the prolonged investigation had caused.
Nasrit Mahmood, sister of Mr Ullah, said: “This has been an extremely frustrating time and we hope that we will get answers from CPS.
“We have tried to keep faith with this process during these years but for us as a family the last five or so years have been a living nightmare.”
The abandonment of the 2010 inquest led to the IPCC reopening its investigation into the case after an initial probe ruled there was no evidence to justify criminal proceedings against the officers involved.
The police watchdog has since sought additional information from doctors and restraint officers about the level of force used.
It also investigated the reasons behind the discrepancies between the original statements from officers and the accounts given at the inquest.
In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: “TVP has worked closely with the IPCC throughout its investigation and will continue to do so while await the findings of the Crown Prosecution Service.
“However, while these proceedings are still on-going it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the matter any further.”
Click here for previous stories on the Habib Ullah case.