Editor beats ID ban on cops in fatal shooting

By Jon Slattery

A blanket order giving all police officers involved in a fatal
shooting anonymity has been lifted following a challenge by the editor
of Bedfordshire on Sunday .

All but the two officers directly involved in the killing will now be named.

Colin
O’Connor was killed by police officers in January 2003 outside a pub at
Clophill after refusing to drop a loaded gun. O’Connor, of Downfield,
Kempston, was killed hours after he failed to appear at Luton Crown
Court and was being apprehended by the officers.

BoS editor Steve Lowe challenged a decision made last November when the coroner’s office held a directions hearing.

He
said the press was not invited although it should have been. This
hearing ruled that the officers involved should not be named.

Lowe
wrote to coroner David Morris, arguing that proceedings before a
coroner’s court should be open to the press and public. The letter
said: “It is in the public interest that police officers acting on
public duty at public expense should be publicly accountable for their
actions.”

This letter was put before a second directions hearing, held on 31 January.

Following
that hearing the coroner issued new orders that the anonymity of police
officers who were at the scene, but were not part of the armed response
unit, should be lifted immediately. The anonymity of the two officers
who are part of the armed response unit but were not directly involved
in the shooting will be lifted from the date the inquest begins.

The
coroner said that he did not believe disclosure would either compromise
them, their families or reduce their operational effectiveness.

The
anonymity of the officer who fired the shot, and that of his team
partner, will remain at least until the end of the inquest. At that
point the coroner will make a further decision.

The inquest is set for 7 and 8 March.
 
  • Following a Bedfordshire on Sunday investigation, a man has
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    He was prosecuted after BoS journalists, following up a tip-off,
    successfully bid for car parts and proved they had been stolen.

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