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Framing the death of Mark Duggan

Mark Duggansource: IRR News 
published: 17 April 2014

As the family of Mark Duggan launch a judicial review of the inquest verdict, IRR News examines the wider context of the death.

On 4 August 2011, Mark Duggan got out of a taxi on Ferry Lane in Tottenham and was shot dead by armed police: within hours, stories about a dramatic ‘shootout’, a ‘violent gangster’, and gangland ‘revenge killings’ began to circulate. Two years later in September 2013, the inquest jury was told that they were on a ‘quest to find the truth’, a process that lasted for three months and involved ninety-three witnesses.

In January 2014, after several days of deliberations, the jury eventually delivered their verdict of lawful killing, and the public gallery erupted in disbelief and outrage. All ten jurors agreed that there had been a gun in the taxi with Mark Duggan. Eight of them disbelieved the evidence of the police marksman who shot him, and were sure the gun was not in his hands when he was shot dead. But despite this, an 8-2 majority concluded that he had been killed lawfully.

Their explanation for the whereabouts of the gun was that he must have thrown it from the taxi before it was surrounded – but no witnesses gave evidence to support this idea. Immediately, the family’s legal team asked the high court to quash the verdict as perverse, arguing that Judge Cutler, presiding over the inquest, should have provided clearer direction to the jury.

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