Armed police untouchable

WHEN Peter Collins expressed his disgust in the Echo at the presence of armed police upon the streets of Cardiff, I suspect his views mirrored those of many readers following the inquest verdict upon the tragic killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was gunned down in London by the Metropolitan Police.

This unarmed and innocent man was making his way to work when officers fired no less than seven bullets into his head.

Naively, when it was announced that a jury inquest would take place to determine the reasons for his death, I thought that justice would prevail and mete out retribution to those who were responsible.

But this was not the case.

Instead, the coroner did not allow the jury freedom to record a verdict.

He directed that they could only return an open one or, quite amazingly, one of lawful killing.

When they returned the latter, it let the police so far off the hook that I would now fear being in the vicinity of an armed constable far more than being close to a tooled-up hoodlum.

On the basis of the de Menezes verdict, policemen would appear to be inviolate.

Further, why bother to appoint a jury in such cases if the coroner does not allow them freedom of choice when reaching a verdict?

This case demonstrates that the law is still the proverbial ass.

Bill Julian Llanishen, Cardiff