Sean Rigg inquest - a watershed for the police service and the IPCC?

Monday 20 May 2013

On Friday 17 May 2013, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published its independent review of its investigation into the death of Sean Rigg - the first time an IPCC investigation has been critically analysed by an external review.The review was commissioned following the inquest into the death of Sean Rigg which concluded in August 2012, at which the jury made damning findings about police conduct leading up to Sean's death.

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Sean Rigg's family was represented at the 8-week inquest by Leslie Thomas and Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers Inquests Team, instructed by Daniel Machover and Helen Stone of Hickman and Rose Solicitors.

The IPCC's independent review, conducted by Dr Silvia Casale (supported by James Lewis QC and Martin Corfe), was carried out between November 2012 and April 2013 and revealed serious disparities between the evidence and findings of the inquest jury and the IPCC's own investigation findings.

The Observer newspaper published an editorial entitled "Sean Rigg's death must be the catalyst for a reform in policing, calling it "a watershed for the police service and the IPCC". The article can be read here.

Family's response

Following the publication Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg's sister, said:

"Almost five years after our brother's unnecessary death this report shows just how badly we were failed by the IPCC, not to mention the police. It is frightening to think that in the intervening years as we struggled for justice more families will have been failed in the same way.

"The fact that the IPCC has accepted all the report's recommendations is incredibly encouraging for us. We recognise the importance of a body like the IPCC to hold the police to account. But that is exactly what it must do. We hope that a complete re-investigation of the issues identified by the review, with new consideration of police misconduct and criminal proceedings, will take place as quickly as possible.

"And the police and the police federation need to sit up and take notice of this report and get their own houses in order rather than obstructing the IPCC in its statutory role."

Further information

INQUEST, who supported the Rigg family throughout the inquest and review process, has further information on its website. INQUEST's submission to the Casale Review is available here and more information on the Sean Rigg inquest and jury verdict here.

Leslie Thomas and Tom Stoate are members of Garden Court Chambers Inquest Team.

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