In the Media

Still insufficient evidence for CPS to bring charges over death of PC Ian Terry

PUBLISHED March 7, 2012

Following the inquest into the death of Police Constable Ian Terry, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reconsidered whether there was sufficient evidence to bring charges in relation to Mr Terry?s tragic death during a training exercise in June 2008. Mark Auty, CPS specialist prosecutor, who reviewed the evidence and made the decision, said: ?I have reconsidered all the evidence surrounding Mr Terry?s death ? including evidence which arose at the inquest and in further investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). I have concluded in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors that there is still insufficient evidence for the CPS to be able to bring any criminal charges in relation to the death of Mr Terry. The HSE has separately considered whether it is possible for them to bring charges for offences that fall within their remit, however. ?I have considered whether there was sufficient evidence to prosecute police officers who were involved in the planning and conduct of the training exercise with gross negligence manslaughter. This offence requires us to be able to prove that the individual owed a duty of care to the person who died; that he breached this duty; that the breach caused or contributed significantly to the death; and that the breach was grossly negligent. I have concluded, even if it was possible to prove, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, that any of the officers did breach their duty of care and that their actions contributed significantly to his death, that there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of proving that they were grossly negligent. The law is clear that serious mistakes and errors of judgement are not, on their own, sufficient to amount to the grave crime of manslaughter. ?I also considered whether there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to the offence of misconduct in public office. A person is guilty of such an offence if he is a public officer acting as such, who wilfully neglects to perform his duty or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public?s trust in the office holder, without reasonable excuse or justification. I have concluded that in the case of two officers there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of proving that any action or omission by those officers had reached the very high threshold required for this offence. In respect of the remaining officers I have concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove under the Code for Crown Prosecutors that any neglect or misconduct on their part had been wilful. ?I have also concluded, following advice from leading counsel, that it is not possible to prosecute Greater Manchester Police for corporate manslaughter in this instance because police forces are exempt by law from prosecution over this kind of training exercise. ?This decision was taken after a great deal of consideration and follows consultation with expert counsel and senior colleagues. I understand it is not the decision that Mr Terry?s family would have been hoping for. I have once again extended my sincere sympathies to Mrs Terry for the death of her husband.? Notes PC Ian Terry, an officer with the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Firearms Unit, was fatally wounded in the torso whilst acting as a role player during a training session on 9 June 2008. He was 32 years old. The exercise involved the use of round irritant personnel rounds fired from a shotgun with the intention of deflating the tyres of a vehicle carrying Mr Terry. The CPS decided in 2009 that there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to Greater Manchester Police or any police officer. An inquest was held between February and March 2010 and the jury recorded a verdict of ?unlawful killing?. The CPS is required to re-review the evidence to take into consideration any new evidence arising from an inquest when a jury records this verdict. In October 2010 the CPS concluded that there remained insufficient evidence to prosecute four officers with misconduct in public office but said that we were still considering the position in relation to other officers and the police force. This decision completes that consideration.