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  1. Will 'abuse of process' be raised to halt hearing seven years after inquest jury criticism?. Sean Rigg: Died in custody Date - 22nd January 2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle Five officers have begun their challenge to gross misconduct proceedings involved in the detention of musician Sean Rigg who died in police custody more than 10 years ago. The Met Police quintet have denied all allegations – following a direction by the Independent Office for Police Conduct – connected to the detainee’s death at Brixton police station on August 21, 2008. The hearing got underway on Monday almost seven years after an inquest jury criticised the way police restrained Mr Rigg, who had paranoid schizophrenia, before he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. The 40-year-old had earlier been arrested in Balham after reports that he was bare-chested and aiming karate kicks at passers-by. Police Constables Andrew Birks, Richard Glasson, Matthew Forward, Mark Harratt and Sergeant Paul White are all accused of breaching standards of professional behaviour. It is alleged that: PC Birks breached standards in relation to duties and responsibilities; PCs Glasson, Forward and Harratt breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity, use of force, abuse of authority and duties and responsibilities; and that Sgt White breached standards in relation to honesty and integrity and duties and responsibilities. The officers potentially face dismissal over the 2008 death but it is understood that lawyers acting for them could be preparing to raise an “abuse of process” argument to tell the disciplinary panel they cannot get a fair hearing base on the passage of time that has elapsed. The five have protested their innocence and the case has been going on for so long PC Birks, who has been suspended on full pay since 2014, has retrained as a Church of England priest. All five appeared at the Met Police misconduct hearing that was also attended by members of Mr Rigg's family including his sister Marcia. The hearing was told that the four PCs were out on duty in a marked police van when they were called to deal with Mr Rigg. He ran away when he saw the van, and was eventually restrained in a grass area on the Weir Estate, being pinned down in a prone position for nearly seven minutes. Around 20 minutes later he was taken into a caged area at Brixton police station, where he collapsed having suffered a cardiac arrest. It is claimed that the constables failed to ensure Mr Rigg's wellbeing because they did not recognise that he was suffering from mental health issues, even though he was partially clothed and threatening passers-by for no obvious reason. They are also accused of failing to ensure he was unharmed because they did not check updates to the call dispatch system that suggested he may have mental health problems, and did not check his passport details on the police national computer. PC Harratt assumed the passport was stolen, when in fact it belonged to Mr Rigg. The four officers and Sgt White all allegedly failed to get Mr Rigg urgent medical help when it became clear that he was seriously ill. In terms of the restraint, it is claimed that PCs Glasson, Harratt and Forward held the musician in the prone position for an excessive amount of time, during which one or more of them had their weight on his upper body, even after he was handcuffed. Four of the officers – PCs Glasson, Harratt, Forward and Sgt White – are accused of breaching rules over honesty and integrity and discreditable conduct over evidence they gave to police watchdog investigators and the inquest into Mr Rigg's death. It is claimed that PCs Glasson and Forward falsely claimed Mr Rigg was moved onto his side when he was held in the prone position; and that they and PC Harratt gave evidence that he was moving his legs and spinning himself around while in the back of the police van despite knowing that this was untrue. Sgt White incorrectly claimed that he had checked on him in the police van, and changed his evidence to the inquest hearing after CCTV disproved his account. The 2012 inquest found that Mr Rigg had died from a cardiac arrest, and the jury said that officers had used an unsuitable level of force. Sgt White was cleared in 2016 of one count of perjury over his inquest evidence, and prosecutors have ruled out bringing any further criminal charges against the five officers. The misconduct hearing continues today. View On Police Oracle
  2. Five police officers will not face prosecution after the death of a mentally ill man in custody, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled. Sean Rigg's family said it was "shameful" the CPS had upheld its decision from 2016. The musician, 40, died from a heart attack at Brixton police station in south London in 2008. In 2012 an inquest jury found that police used "unsuitable" force after arresting Mr Rigg. The CPS chose not to authorise charges against any of the officers last year because the evidential threshold was not met. A review began at the request of Mr Rigg's family. Crushed hopes Mr Rigg's sister, Marcia Rigg, said in a family statement: "It is shameful that the CPS should yet again find there is insufficient evidence. "After years of vigorous campaigning to highlight the flaws in this wretched and unfair judicial system, there is no justice in the UK for families like mine. "Any hope has been crushed." In the weeks before his death Mr Rigg, who had paranoid schizophrenia, had not taken his medication. He was held down for eight minutes in the "prone position" after his arrest in Balham for attacking passers-by and officers in August 2008. He fell ill in a police van and died in custody. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Met Police are still liaising over whether any officer has a misconduct case to answer. Daniel Machover, the family solicitor, said: "As the police continue to pose a danger to those suffering from mental ill health, it is saddening that the CPS has failed to bring charges that would help to bring about change and accountability." A CPS spokesperson said: "A full review of the evidence, including new material provided by the IPCC, was undertaken by a specialist CPS prosecutor who was not involved in the original decision. "The review has now concluded and has upheld the original decision not to authorise charges in relation to the death of Mr Rigg, on the basis that the evidential test in the code for crown prosecutors is not met." The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said in a statement: "The MPS has been notified by the Crown Prosecution Service that the decision not to prosecute any police officer in connection with the death of Sean Rigg has been reviewed and upheld. "The MPS has responded to the IPCC about its findings in relation to whether any officer involved has a case to answer for either misconduct or gross misconduct. We await the IPCC's further response and continue to liaise in line with the regulations that govern police conduct matters. "We will do all we can to progress matters as quickly as possible. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-42254576

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