A firearms officer who shot and killed a man during a foiled prison break-out can face misconduct proceedings, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Jermaine Baker, from Tottenham, north London, was fatally shot by an officer during a Metropolitan Police operation which thwarted a plot to snatch two prisoners from a van near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11, 2015.
Following an investigation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed that the force should bring disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct against the marksman, identified only as W80 for legal reasons.
That decision was quashed by the High Court in August last year, after it was challenged by Officer W80.
Lawyers representing IOPC appealed against the decision, which was made by Lord Justice Flaux and Sir Kenneth Parker in August 2019.
A firearms officer who shot Jermaine Baker (pictured) dead can face misconduct proceedings, the Court of Appeal ruled
IOPC bosses were concerned that the ruling would mean that firearms officers who had made ‘honest but unreasonable mistakes’ could not face disciplinary proceedings, according to Police Professional.
Officer W80’s lawyers said that the appeal should be dismissed, arguing that the original ruling was not unreasonable.
But, in a ruling today, three leading judges overturned the High Court’s judgement following the appeal by the IOPC.
In a summary of the ruling, Sir Geoffrey Vos said: ‘The IOPC was justified in concluding that it was open to a reasonable misconduct panel to make a finding of misconduct if W80’s honest, but mistaken, belief that his life was threatened was found to be unreasonable.
‘That conclusion was soundly based in law on the proper and plain meaning of the relevant regulations and the (College of Policing’s) Code of Ethics.’
Sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Lady Justice Nicola Davies, Sir Geoffrey said the IOPC’s decision to direct the Met to bring misconduct proceedings stands.
The judge told the court that Officer W80 has seven days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Mr Baker was among a group of men trying to free Izzet Eren and his co-defendant while they were transported Wormwood Scrubs prison to Wood Green Crown Court to be sentenced for a firearms offence.
Mr Baker and two other men were waiting in a car, but the attempt to free Eren was thwarted by police who had bugged their car.
Accomplice Mr Baker was shot dead by a police officer during the operation.
The marksman said that he had acted in self-defence and was told that he would not face a murder charge.
Mr Baker was fatally shot by an officer during a Metropolitan Police operation which thwarted a plot to snatch Izzet Eren (above) and his co-defendant in December 2015
It was revealed after the incident that Mr Baker was unarmed.
But investigators later recovered an imitation Uzi machine gun from behind the driver’s seat in the rear of the bugged and stolen car.
Eren had previously been sentenced to eight years in prison in July 2011 for conspiracy to supply drugs. A condition of his sentence was that he was deported.
Mr Polnay said: ‘He should not have been in the UK at all.’
In a bid to avoid a lengthy jail sentence Eren had masterminded the escape plot from his cell.
His cousin Ozcan Eren, who was described by the judge as a ‘trusted and intimate lieutenant’ of Eren’s, key role was to act as a look-out and check the possible routes the prison van might take.
Eren texted instructions to the gang using a mobile phone from inside the van, telling them the registration number and the cell he was in.
The gang were stopped by police but not before a message was sent to Izzet Eren telling him to get rid of the tiny phone. Parts of it were found shoved in to the grille of the prison van.
Ozcan Eren, 32, acted as the link-man, passing on details of the texts to the rest of the gang.
He had denied the charges relating to the escape plot but changed his plea part way through the trial.
Ozcan Eran was sentenced to a total of eight years, including five-and-a-half years for the conspiracy to escape and two-and-a-half years for the weapons offence. The sentence is consecutive.
Mr Baker was among a group of men trying to free Izzet Eren and his co-defendant as they were transported Wormwood Scrubs prison (above) to Wood Green Crown Court
A number of other men were jailed in 2016 for their part in the plot.
Driver Nathan Mason, 31, was jailed for six years and two months for possessing an imitation firearm and for the escape plot.
Nineteen-year-old Gokay Sogucakli, also from Tottenham, was ordered to serve five-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to the same offences as Mason.
Eren Hasyer, 25, was found guilty of conspiring in the escape plot, but was cleared of possession of an imitation firearm.
At the time, Judge Christopher Kinch QC, told the gang that an attempted break out from custody was an ‘attack’ on the criminal justice system.
He told at Woolwich Crown Court that the gang had threatened the general public and put security staff at risk.
The judge sentenced Eren, 33, who is currently serving 14 years for the firearms offences, to a total of seven-and-a half years for the escape attempt.
This includes five-and-half years for conspiracy to escape and two years for conspiracy to carry imitation firearms with criminal intent. This sentence is to be served consecutively to the current 14 year jail sentence.
The judge said that Eren that he was ‘the motive behind the whole sequence of events’, that he had ‘orchestrated’ the escape plan and that he was ‘plainly a man of considerable influence’, control and loyalty from the other gang members.