Smiley Culture inquest jury return suicide verdict

Wednesday 3 July 2013

The jury at the inquest into the death of reggae artist David Emmanuel, also known as Smiley Culture, have recorded a verdict of suicide. Mr Emmanuel died of a stab wound to the heart following a Metropolitan Police raid on his home in March 2011.

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After a two-week inquest in Woking, and over 12 hours of deliberation, the jury were unable to reach a unanimous verdict, leading the Coroner to agree to accept a majority verdict.

Despite the suicide verdict, the jury did find that the way in which Mr Emmanuel was supervised following his arrest materially contributed to his death. In particular, the fact that a single officer was left to supervise Mr Emmanuel while also completing paperwork was felt to be inappropriate.

The inquest has also highlighted serious failings in the Independent Police Complaints Commission's investigation, including a failure to attend the scene until some four hours after the event, a failure to secure all relevant evidence, and a failure to critically analyse opinions expressed by the expert witnesses.

Following the verdict, the Coroner, Mr Richard Travers, said that he would write to the Metropolitan Police Service, highlighting failures that contributed towards the death, making recommendations for changes aimed at preventing similar tragedies in future.

Click here to download a copy of the jury verdict.

The case has been widely reported, including by the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.

Leslie Thomas represented Mr Emmanuel's daughter at the inquest, and was instructed by Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

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