WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
April 13 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Identity of officer charged with Chris Kaba murder to be made public at trial

Identity of officer charged with Chris Kaba murder to be made public at trial

The identity of the Metropolitan police officer charged with the murder of unarmed, 24-year-old Chris Kaba, is to be revealed during his trial in January.

Judge Mark Lucraft KC decided against granting anonymity to the officer, known only as NX121, concluding that there was no ‘real and immediate risk’ to the officer or his family if his identity was made public. He added that setting a three-month delay would allow time for ‘any additional mitigating measures’ to be put in place.

Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST, has said in the wake of the decision that ‘granting anonymity for police officers involved in deaths goes against the principles of an open and transparent justice system.’ She said that the decision to release the officer’s name may not go far enough, since the public would not be able to see the officer’s face as he stands trial for murder. According to Coles, dissenting officers’ threats to put down their guns, only ‘undermine the justice system they are meant to be part of.’

Kaba’s family has made a statement, thanking the court for ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘working in the public interest of open justice’.

The Police Federation expressed serious concerns and disappointment with the ruling. Steve Hartshorn, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), highlighted that disclosing NX121’s identity reduces officers’ and their families’ confidence in ‘appropriate legal protection’ for the sensitive work that they do. Harry Tangye, a former armed response officer for Devon and Cornwall Police also raised concerns that the decision may affect recruitment of new officers into armed policing roles.

Chris Kaba was killed in September of last year, after being shot by an armed officer. The incident occurred following a car chase, with Kaba’s car being blocked by unmarked response vehicles in Streatham Hill. He died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

The decision to charge NX121 with murder earlier this year provoked a negative response among officers, with more than one hundred refusing to carry their weapons.