On Thursday morning, a one minute silence will be observed at Cornhill by Threadneedle Street at 11am to remember the death of Ian Tomlinson a year earlier.
The following open letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions is published in the Thursday issue of The Guardian:
A year on, we still wait for answers about Ian Tomlinson's death
It has now been one year since the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in the City of London on 1 April. While we appreciate a fair and thorough investigation takes time, Ian's grieving family has been left in limbo for a year waiting for a full explanation about the circumstances of his death. There is now very real concern as to whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) proposes to charge anyone in respect of the assault and death of Ian.
The CPS has been in possession of the provisional Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation findings since August 2009. We understand that these findings, at least in part, will provide the basis for a decision on whether to prosecute anyone for Ian's death. We also note that the director of public prosecutions said in a Guardian interview (21 September 2009) that he hoped the CPS would reach a decision "within a few months".
Delays in the investigation and charging decisions increase the suffering for families of victims leaving them unable to gain closure and move on with their lives. Families are greatly concerned not to prejudice the process and are therefore effectively silenced from expressing their views publicly about the death of their loved one. They are desperate to ensure any potential future legal proceedings are not undermined nor an excuse found to abandon any cases that might be brought. The Tomlinson family has endured a year of public scrutiny unable to respond to questions about Ian's death, with little they can do but wait for the outcome of a decision. The delay however is now intolerable.
The policing of the G20 protest caused widespread public concern around use of excessive force by police officers. Proceedings against many protestors arrested on the day, as well as a number of reviews and investigations into the events of the day, have all been concluded. In the case of Ian Tomlinson, there is a heightened need for the statutory investigating body to be seen to be carrying out justice in a robust, transparent and timely manner to address public confidence. One year later the public, like the Tomlinson family, are still left with unanswered questions about how and why Ian died at the G20.
In the absence of any updates from the CPS, we have growing concerns about the investigation into Ian's death. There has been a complete lack of communication and transparency about the delay into concluding the investigation into Ian's death that calls the CPS's credibility into question.
As we have already set out, we do not wish to prejudice any investigation or potential proceedings but believe that either a decision or public explanation is due. We call on the CPS to fulfill its public duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson.
Julia Tomlinson, Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign
Estelle du Boulay, Newham Monitoring Project
John McDonnell MP
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Jean Lambert MEP
Bob Crowe, RMT
Mark Serwotka, Public and Commercial Services Union
Shami Chakrabarti, Liberty
Deborah Coles, Inquest
Vivian Figueiredo, on behalf of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes
Samantha Rigg-David, on behalf of the family of Sean Rigg
Penny Green, professor of law and criminology, King's College London
Samantha Patterson, sister of Jason Mcpherson
Terry Stewart, The Friends of Blair Peach
Jenny Jones, Green party Metropolitan Police Authority member
Peter Herbert, Society of Black Lawyers
Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Liberal Democrat for Downham Ward
Pete Firmin and Andrew Fisher, Labour Representation Committee
Darren Johnson, Member of London Assembly
Frances Wright, Camp for Climate Action
Val Swain and Emily Apple, Fit watch
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Women Against Fundamentalism.
Christine Shawcroft, Labour Briefing
David Rosenberg, Jewish Socialists' Group
Patrick Ward, United Campaign Against Police Violence
Estella Schmid, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, sociology and public policy, Aston University
Councillor Romayne Phoenix, London Green party campaigns co-ordinator
Joseph Healy, Green party regional councillor for London
Andy Hewitt, co-chair of the Green party trade union group
Teresa Delaney, co-chair of the Green party trade union group
Frances Webber, human rights lawyer
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor at Birnberg Peirce
Ronan Toal, barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Hossein Zahir, barrister, Garden Court Chambers
David Watkinson, Garden Court Chambers
Anya Lewis, Garden Court Chambers
Richard J Harvey, Garden Court Chambers
David Emanuel, Garden Court Chambers
Yasin Patel, 25 Bedford Row Chambers
Rajiv Menon, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
Professor Mick Ryan, former chair of Inquest
Zoe Mercer, When No One is Watching Campaign
Dr Emma Williamson, Research Fellow, Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol
Professor Phil Scraton, Queen's University, Belfast
Dr Sacha Darke, senior lecturer in socio-legal studies and criminology, Department of Social and Historical Studies, University of Westminster
Mohan Ambikaipaker, University of Texas
Yasmin Khan, War on Want
Camilla Graham Wood
Doctor Sheila Preston
Jack Gordon Harris
The CPS was already considering whether to press charges at the time of a candlelight vigil last December.
Update:The DPP has published a statement regarding CPS decision on the death of Ian Tomlinson:
I readily accept the responsibility of the CPS to fulfil its duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson. That investigation must be thorough, effective and impartial. And, I am afraid, in this particular case that means that it is taking longer than originally expected.
As we have previously explained, the CPS and the IPCC are currently trying to obtain some further information. This relates to the expert medical evidence which is crucial to the proper determination of this case. Both the CPS and the IPCC are working as quickly as is compatible with a careful investigation in this difficult and complex case.
But I acknowledge the frustration and anxiety that Mrs Tomlinson must be experiencing. In the circumstances, I will be writing to her privately today.
Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions
The Guardian's coverage of the G20 protest anniversary includes comments of the New York banker who shot the video of Ian Tomlinson being assaulted by the police: 'My motive was and remains to aid truth and closure for the family, though in hindsight it has become much more than that. As the press coverage went on following the Tomlinson incident, it felt more and more clear that the circumstances of the death were being covered up. Given a few weeks, Mr Tomlinson would have become another tragic footnote and then forgotten. His family deserved more than that.'
The BBC has a detailed report of this morning's vigil. (See Harpymarx for a more illustrated report.) The news article concludes with an interview of Samantha Rigg-David, whose brother Sean Rigg died in police custody in Brixton, in August 2008, commenting on the 'need to bring about a prosecution for one reason in particular: "It will show police officers that they aren't above the law."'
First published on 2010-03-31; last updated on 2010-04-01.