Family hits out at delays to G20 death inquiry
Photo: Girish Gupta

Family hits out at delays to G20 death inquiry

| Apr. 2, 2010 |

Published by The Independent [PDF]

Photo: Girish Gupta

Relatives of a man who died after being pushed over by a police officer during last year's G20 protests have criticised delays in the inquiry while laying flowers at the spot where he died.

The family of Ian Tomlinson were joined by mourners and demonstrators angry at police tactics during the protests. The 47-year-old died moments after he was shoved by a police officer. The incident prompted the Metropolitan Police to overhaul the way it deals with demonstrations.

A minute's silence was held as City workers looked on. "We want justice. It's been a very difficult year. We want to move on," said Mr Tomlinson's widow, Julia. "Until this is all sorted out, our lives are on hold."

She said the investigation into her husband's death was taking "far too long" and blamed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for the delays.

An open letter has been sent to Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, complaining about the delays. Signed by his widow, as well as by John McDonnell MP, Bob Crow, the leader of the transport union RMT, and Shami Chakrabarti, of the human rights group Liberty, the letter called the wait "intolerable".

"Delays in the investigation and charging decisions increase the suffering for families of victims leaving them unable to gain closure and move on with their lives," the letter says. "The Tomlinson family has endured a year of public scrutiny, with little they can do but wait for a decision."

Mr Starmer said yesterday that he would be writing privately to Mrs Tomlinson to explain the delay. "I readily accept the responsibility of the CPS to fulfil its duty regarding the investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson," he said. "That investigation must be thorough, effective and impartial. And, I am afraid, in this particular case that means that it is taking longer than originally expected."

Chris Knight, one of the organisers of the G20 protests, said: "We didn't expect [that] the police, under this so-called Labour government, would lay into us like that. It was absolutely ferocious. I do have a certain sense of personal involvement. I do know that if we hadn't as a group decided to protest Ian would probably still be alive. I feel terrible about that."