An Old Bailey jury has found the Metropolitan Police guilty of health and safety failures in the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005.
Mr de Menezes was shot by police officers who mistook him for 21 July bomber Hussain Osman. During the trial the jury were told the Brazilian acted in an "aggressive and threatening manner" towards officers.
Ronald Thwaites QC, defending the force, said "he was shot because when he was challenged by police he did not comply with them but reacted precisely as they had been briefed a suicide bomber might react at the point of detonating his bomb."
The prosecution maintain de Menezes acted like any other commuter. Clare Montgomery QC told the jury "his conduct that morning was no different from the conduct of hundreds of others, of commuters who come into the city".
Following today’s verdict the force has been fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 in costs.
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London said:
"Police officers operated against suicide bombers in conditions of extreme danger – and subject to strains, both of risk to themselves and of their desire to safeguard Londoners lives, that no one not in their position can understand. Health and safety legislation was not drawn up for such extreme situations."
"Police officers must not fear that they will be second-guessed by those operating with all the benefit of hindsight and by legislation not designed for such situations. This verdict makes the struggle to defend Londoners against terrorism more difficult. The shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes was a tragedy but the safety of all Londoners must not be undermined in a struggle against terrorism that goes on everyday."
"MPS officers put their lives on the line in order to protect the lives Londoners."
"The professionalism, bravery and dedication of Metropolitan Police Service, the Commissioner and his senior command team is outstanding and they have my full support."
Len Duvall, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said the MPA’s "thoughts continue to be with the Menezes family and friends, together with those of the other victims."
In a statement issued by the MPA Mr Duvall said:
"The events of that day highlighted operational and communication processes which proved to be inadequate when Londoners lives were put under threat of terrorist attacks. We need to remember that there were a number of simultaneous police operations during that time that were successful but the Authority is determined to minimise the possibility of such a tragic event happening again.
"Over the past two and a half years the Authority has worked hard with the Met to carry out root and branch examinations of operational policing systems, internal and external communication procedures, as well as Operation Kratos, the national policing response to suicide terrorists.
"Now the trial has concluded the MPA itself will review the responses of the MPS to Stockwell 1, as yet unpublished, and issues relating to Stockwell 2, published on 2 August 2007.
"It makes no sense now the trial has finished that the Stockwell 1 report remains secret and the Authority has urged the IPCC to publish as soon as possible. Until this happens it is not possible to have a transparent and frank public debate about vital issues for policing and public safety, and the potential for misinformation and misunderstanding will continue. It is in both the public and the de Menezes family interest for the report to be in the open.
The police are not above the law but the MPA have always had reservations about whether bringing a case against the MPS for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was the most appropriate course to take. The Authority, along with the MPS, will need to look at the judgement very carefully.
"The case was brought against the Metropolitan Police Service, not against the Commissioner personally or any other officer. Matters relating to individuals are being dealt with by the MPA Professional Standards and Complaints committee, and hopefully will be resolved in the near future.
"The MPA fully supports the Commissioner and will continue to work with him, his management team and all MPS staff to achieve high quality policing so that everyone in London can gain and retain confidence in the Met.
"Policing in London is a tough business – it is the Authority’s job is to deliver a fit for purpose, efficient and effective police service. We ask the police to do a difficult job on our behalf and sometimes they make mistakes. This case led to the tragic death of an innocent man. Our ultimate aim is to make sure we all learn from this tragedy."
When delivering the verdict the jury foreperson said that they "attach no personal culpability to Commander Dick", the officer in charge of operations on the day.
In September 2006 supporters of the de Menezes family attacked the decision to promote Dicks to the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner.
Speaking at the time a spokesman for the family asked "how can the Metropolitan Police Authority give the green light to promote Cressida Dick, someone who is centrally involved in the court case?"
LibDem Home Affairs Spokesman Nick Clegg claimed the "verdict makes it unavoidable that Ian Blair should take responsibility on behalf of his whole organisation and resign."
The Conservatives have backed calls for Sir Ian’s resignation. Shadow Home Secretary David Davies said his position was now "untenable".
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said "prior to sentence the Judge made lengthy comment. This will need careful consideration in light of all the evidence that has emerged during the trial."
The decision to prosecute has not been universally backed. After the verdict the One London Party on the London Assembly renewed its condemnation of the legislation which led to the prosecution of the Metropolitan Police on Health and Safety laws.
Damian Hockney, Leader of the One London Party and MPA Member said: "No-one has benefitted from this prosecution other than a bunch of lawyers.
"The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have gained nothing. London council taxpayers will have to pick up the huge bill. And we now have a police service that will be so terrified of taking positive action in future potential terrorist situations that may ultimately lead to even greater loss of life.
"Today the Metropolitan Police have been found guilty, but nobody is to be held accountable. This is a ludicrous state of affairs. There must be an immediate Home Office review to consider whether the police should be subject to the same health and safety legislation as ordinary businesses. Meanwhile, the Stockwell inquiry report must now be published."
"This may still lead to the resignation of Sir Ian, not on Health and Safety grounds, but because of serious operational failures on the day of the shooting. There must also be an emergency meeting of the MPA to consider the implications of this verdict."