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Police will not be prosecuted for shooting barrister

18 September 2009

The CPS has decided not to prosecute any of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of barrister Mark Saunders in Chelsea last year.

Saunders, a family law specialist based at QEB chambers in the Temple, died in his flat after he was hit by bullets from seven police marksmen following a siege lasting four hours.

Earlier, Saunders had fired rounds from his shotgun from the £2m flat, apparently at random. Nobody was hurt.

Sally Walsh, lawyer at the CPS special crime division, said she had considered charges of murder, attempted murder and manslaughter against the police marksmen.

“All of the firearms officers have stated they were acting in self-defence or in defence of colleagues,” she said.

Walsh said a successful prosecution would require the CPS to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the officers did not honestly and genuinely believe that they or others were in immediate danger, and there was no “realistic prospect” of achieving this.

She said she had also considered charges of gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in public office and health and safety offences against the officers in charge of the operation.

“After reviewing the evidence, I have decided that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction against any of these officers for any of these offences,” she said.

“We recognise this was a tragic incident and that Mr Saunders was in a distressed state at the time of his death, but the police have a duty to protect the public and the right to defend themselves.”

Categorised in:

Procedures Police & Prisons Health & Safety