The inquest, which is being conducted at the Adult Education Centre in Gravesend (pictured), is expected to run for at least a week and began today with an opening statement and the examination of medical witnesses.
Kent Police’s handling of the incident has already been scrutinised by the High Court (which made no criticism) following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. We on the Kent Police Authority have also reviewed (and approved) the procedures which Kent Police apply generally following a fatal shooting.
The inquest, however, will allow what happened to be considered and determined by 11 member of the public who, unlike in criminal proceedings, are allowed as jurors to ask questions of witnesses. Witnesses are also questioned by independent counsel for the inquest as well as barristers acting for both the police and family of the deceased.
I hope that this procedure, and in particular the central role taken by members of the public who are chosen at random from the electoral roll to serve as jurors, will help all those involved to come to terms with what happened, at least so far as that can be done through a system intended to judge what happened as fairly and independently as we know how.