The Old Bailey today heard arguments for the continuing anonymity of the Met police officer charged with the murder of Chris Kaba.
Chris Kaba, an unarmed black man, was shot by a firearms officer from the Metropolitan police in September last year. It was announced last month that the officer involved would be charged with murder for the fatal shooting. Legally the officer may not be named, and is referred to as NX121.
However, it will now be up to the court to decide whether the officer should be allowed to remain anonymous in their upcoming trial for Chris Kaba’s murder. Whilst the court heard submissions from both sides today, reportedly no final decision has yet been made. It is also not yet known when the hearing will continue.
Ahead of the hearing, INQUEST released a statement objecting to the potential for the officer to be granted anonymity on the grounds this ‘goes against the principles of an open and transparent justice system’.
The director of INQUEST, Deborah Coles, emphasised that the person on trial was ‘a police officer and public servant’ and that ‘the public and Chris’ family should know their name when they stand trial for murder.’
Coles was clear to stress that ‘accountability for police officers is a vital part of our democracy’ and that they should be equally subject to the rule of law.
In their press release, INQUEST also discuss how despite evidence of wrongdoing by the police in the past, accountability is ‘extremely rare.’
Since 1990, INQUEST have recorded 1,870 deaths following police custody or contact but only 12 prosecutions for murder or manslaughter brought against on duty police officers. Of these, only one has resulted in a successful prosecution where the officer was found guilty of manslaughter in the Dalian Atkinson case.
Furthermore, whilst officers have faced other criminal charges in connection with deaths, such as for perjury or misconduct in public office, most of these have led to not guilty verdicts.