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Jermaine Baker inquiry enters final phase with closing statements

The inquiry into the shooting of a man by armed police during an attempted jail break has heard closing statements before moving to its final stage.

Closing statements have been made by the key participants at the inquiry into the death of Jermaine Baker.

He died from a single shot during a Metropolitan Police Service operation on 11 December 2015.

Officers foiled an attempt to spring Izzet Eren who was being transported in a prison van near Wood Green Prison.

The legal team for the officer – known only as W80, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, the Metropolitan Police Service, the National Crime Agency and the man’s family have all given their final submissions to the inquiry led by Judge Clement Goldstone QC.

It was ordered by the Home Secretary to review the planning and the way the Met’s operation was carried out. Baker’s family has challenged whether the use of force was proportionate.

It is just the latest stage in a series of investigations that followed the incident including misconduct proceedings brought by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The preliminary inquiry hearings began in July 2020 and the main evidence sessions began in June this year.

Among the issues to be resolved by the inquiry was whether the decision to allow the gang’s conspiracy to proceed to point of arrest was the right one.

Baker was shot by the officer who thought he was reaching for a gun contained in a bag that he was wearing.

Intelligence gathered before the operation was that the gang had a weapon. Baker did not have a firearm but an imitation Uzi machine gun was found in the rear of the Audi he was travelling in.

Officer W80 had already told the inquiry he had a "genuinely and honestly belief" based upon the information which had been provided to him, and what he perceived Mr Baker to be doing when challenged, that "there was an imminent threat to his life and to the lives of his colleagues”.

The inquiry had been told that it was the officer’s first deployment since returning from a training role.

Duncan Penny QC, representing him, said this was not correct as he had in fact been regularly deployed while in that role.

He said: “It is simply inaccurate to portray him as having been out of touch or in some way unqualified for the task. As you heard, he is a very experienced and valued officer with considerable service in SO19.”

Summing up for W80, Duncan Penny said the inquiry should follow the case law set in previous inquiries of similar incidents including the shooting of Mark Duggan which was carried out by Brian Leveson QC.

The National Crime Agency stood by its submissions, the inquiry was told.

But the inquiry had also heard that a bug in the gang's stolen car had revealed they had not been able to obtain a gun and that Baker had been sleeping in the car prior to the incident.

Baker’s mother, Margaret Smith told the media after the proceedings that the end of evidence was “bittersweet”.  

"He should have gone to prison," she told Sky News.

"I've always said he should have, then been out and asked us (as) a family to help him get back on his feet. But he doesn't have that option now.”

The Inquiry will now move into its next phase – the writing of the Inquiry Report by the Chairman and his legal team. The findings will be presented to the Home Secretary before publication.

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