As the late Steve Biko said, "The System will never convict The System" and it's as true in Blairite Britain as it was in Apartheid South Africa. My *opinion* has always been that elements within the police and intelligence services knew exactly what they were doing. The police have basically been found guilty of endangering the public and contravening our draconian Health and Safety laws, not murdering an innocent man on the Underground. British Justice hasn't stirred from the coma it's in.
London's police force was found guilty Thursday of endangering the public during a frantic manhunt for four failed suicide bombers that led to the killing of an innocent Brazilian man on a subway train.
Police had staked out an address belonging to two of the failed bombers at dawn on July 22, 2005. It was less than 24 hours after the attackers' devices failed to ignite on three subway cars and a double-decker bus. Police feared they were set on trying to strike again.
The manhunt unfolded with the British capital already on edge after four suicide bombers killed 52 commuters two weeks earlier.
The officers watching the building trailed Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, out of the apartments, suspecting he was one of the bombers. They followed him onto two buses, into a subway station and finally into a train. There, officers, believing he was a bomber, shot him seven times at close range in front of morning commuters.
On Thursday, a jury found police guilty of breaking health and safety laws. Judge Richard Henriques ordered the Metropolitan Police to pay a total of $1.16 million for breakdowns in the operation.
"One person died and many others were placed in potential danger," Henriques said after the verdict.
The judge acknowledged the manhunt had been "a unique and difficult operation."
"This was very much an isolated breach brought about by quite extraordinary circumstances," he said.
The force had denied the charge, saying the killing was an error, not a crime. Outside London's Central Criminal Court, police chief Ian Blair expressed "my deep regret" over de Menezes' death.
"No police officer set out on that day to shoot an innocent man," he said. "I am certain that this death was the culmination of actions by many hands, all of whom were doing their best to handle a terrible threat facing London on that day — a race against time to find the failed suicide bombers of the day before."
Blair said he had no intention of resigning after the verdict. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he had "full confidence" in the police chief, despite opposition calls for Blair to step down.
Blair did not rule out an appeal.
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the government doesn't consider that the decision closes the case.