Officers face gross misconduct hearings but no criminal charges in Habib Ullah case

Habib Ullah

Habib Ullah

First published in News
Last updated
Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FIVE police officers will face misconduct hearings in relation to Habib Ullah's death in High Wycombe- following a further investigation- but no criminal charges against officers will be made.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has found a case to answer for gross misconduct against five Thames Valley officers in the events leading up to Mr Ullah's death in 2008.

But the CPS has today decided there is insufficient evidence to charge any individual in relation to his death or in relation to allegations perverting the course of justice.

Mr Ullah, 39, suffered a cardiac arrest when he was forced to the ground in a car park in Sharrow Vale, High Wycombe on July 3, 2008 by officers who believed he was hiding class A drugs in his mouth.

There was an IPCC investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death which concluded in December 2009.

However, the inquest into Mr Ullah’s death was abandoned in December 2010 when the coroner was informed police officers had been advised to alter parts of their statements by a solicitor.

This led to the re-opening of the IPCC investigation in order to assess the impact the new evidence had on the original investigation, which was completed in February and sent to the CPS.

The CPS today said it had considered the possible offences of manslaughter by gross negligence, misconduct in public office, perjury and perverting the course of justice, but that there was insufficient evidence to prove any crime.

The IPCC has now provided the report and the underlying material to Mr Ullah’s family and HM Coroner in advance of an inquest.

The family's solicitor, Marian Ellingworth said: "This is a very disappointing decision. The family have displayed great dignity and waited patiently for nearly four years since the inquest was adjourned in December 2010 only to be told there will be no prosecution.

"In my view, it exposes the failure of the criminal justice system to hold police officers to account and urgent reform is required, in particular of the manslaughter offences, so that the threshold for bringing prosecutions in such cases is more achievable.

"I will be advising my clients about potential remedies open to them and we will be meeting with the CPS and seeking a full explanation for their decision making.

"I am also very disappointed that the CPS has failed to charge the officers and solicitor for the significant changes made to their statements and only admitted at the inquest. Such conduct by public servants under a duty to conduct themselves with integrity is highly reprehensible and it is to be regretted that the CPS does not consider that there is sufficient evidence to charge."

The IPCC has passed details of its investigation to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to consider the conduct of a Police Federation solicitor.

The full investigation report will be published at the conclusion of the coroner’s inquest, which can now be arranged.

IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said: "This has been a complex investigation which as we have said has taken an unbearably long time for Mr Ullah’s family. I am very sorry for the prolonged distress this has caused, but it has been essential to ensure that our investigation was robust and thorough.

"Five officers and a solicitor were interviewed under caution and we felt there was sufficient evidence to refer to the CPS. In light of the CPS decision, we have now sent the report to the family of Mr Ullah and the SRA. In accordance with procedures under the Police Reform Act 2002 Thames Valley Police were sent a copy of the report in January 2014 and they have determined that five officers should now face gross misconduct hearings. We have also sent a copy of the report to the coroner in advance of the inquest into Mr Ullah’s tragic and untimely death."

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