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High Court Judge says firearms officer should be 'commended not criticised'


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PC Stuart Brown shot Dean Joseph dead when he lunged at his ex-girlfriend with a knife.

High Court Judge says firearms officer should be 'commended not criticised'


Date - 13th August 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
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A judge slammed attempts to smear the name of a firearms officer as he threw out a damages claim against the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Dean Joseph, 40, was shot dead by Met PC Stuart Brown in the home of his former partner Julie Moyes in September 2014 after a tense 90-minute stand-off with police in which he repeatedly held a knife to Ms Moyes’ neck.

PC Brown was in position, shoulder to shoulder with colleague PC Philip Clark on the gully wall with his feet against the sill of a broken window, for about 30 minutes.

When Mr Joseph pushed Ms Moyes hard against her bedroom wall with the knife, PC Brown fired twice.

Mr Joseph’s family wanted to sue MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick for personal injury and psychiatric harm damages and claimed the force had breached its obligation not to take life except where absolutely necessary and for inadequate planning of the operation.

He was already subject to a non-molestation order when he smashed his way into Ms Moyes’ Islington flat late at night on September 4.

Her neighbour Julie Westrop heard Mr Joseph shouting, swearing and kicking a window and called 999.

In a witness statement days after the incident Ms Moyes said Mr Joseph asked if she wanted to watch him die and then moved the knife to her own throat.

PC Brown said in oral evidence Ms Moyes “had nowhere to go; she was stuck in a corner … I thought he was killing her. I saved her life. I was extremely relieved to see her walk out in one piece”.

Judge Alan Saggerson said PC Brown had been challenged throughout the case on nothing more than “groundless speculation”.

“It is difficult to express in moderate language how utterly warped such accusations are when considered in the context of the evidence as a whole,” he said.

“There is no room for doubt that PC Brown saved Ms. Moyses’ life and that his professionalism, steadfastness and judgment in the most extreme circumstances calls for commendation rather than criticism.

“His evidence was impressive… his evidence was measured, accurate and reliable on all material issues.

“Anyone who had the advantage of seeing and hearing from PC Brown would not for one moment consider that he was the sort of coward who would seek to concoct a catalogue of half-truths and lies in collusion with fellow officers just to cover his own back.

“I am not aware that this type of case falls into any special category in regard to “testing the evidence”, neither am I aware that police officers have some reduced status as witnesses that permits the throwing of mud in the hope that something will stick any more than would be acceptable for any other kind of witness.

“The challenges to PC Brown’s integrity were without justification or, in my judgment, adequate foundation, and are to be deplored.”       

He said it would be an “affront to justice and common sense” for Mr Joseph’s funeral expenses to be met by the public purse and pointed out Mr Joseph had been estranged from his sister Susan Joseph for some time when he died.

Even if there had been organisational shortcomings on the Met’s behalf, he would not have awarded her compensation he said. 

She had told her brother to leave her home as he was a “drain on her own very limited financial resources”.  

Commander Kyle Gordon, of the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command said: “Any death following police contact is a real tragedy, and something we plan to prevent, and train to avoid. 

“Our thoughts of course remain with the family and loved ones of Dean Joseph at this difficult time.

“My thoughts are also with the officers involved in this incident, who have all been personally impacted by what happened. I hope that this judgement will allow them and their families to their resume their lives confident in the knowledge that they acted properly and bravely to preserve life.

“Armed officers perform one of the most challenging roles in policing and often have to make critical split-second decisions in dangerous, volatile situations to protect the public.

“In this case, it was accepted that the actions of the officers and the force used in the circumstances was justified and proportionate.

“We are pleased that the judgement commended the professionalism of the officers who, like all of their colleagues, are asked to do a very difficult job in very challenging circumstances.”

In 2015 the Independent Police Complaints Commission (now the Independent Office for Police Conduct) cleared PC Brown of all wrongdoing. One month earlier an inquest concluded Mr Joseph was lawfully killed.

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4 years later.. what a horrible burden to have hanging over you. I'm so glad that this has been dealt with and the officers involved can begin to piece together a future out of the stress.

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One of the best summing ups by a judge I’ve read. Really told it like it was.

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I have heard similar summing up by Judges but, regardless he was spot on.

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