Conference Statement on Behalf of Rupert and Sheila Sylvester, Parents of
should be remembered that this decision by the Crown Prosecution Service was
based on comment interviews from the police. We must also remember that the
Steven Lawrence case collapsed due to the lack of evidence.
thirteen months ago the Police Complaints Authority passed seven volumes of
investigation findings to the Crown Prosecution Service to make a decision on
whether any of the eight police officers who restrained our son should be
prosecuted. The investigation was
conducted by Essex Police. We
believe the findings were based on selective information.
died after he was illegally detained and restrained on his doorstep.
The circumstances surrounding his death remain suspicious.
We believe that excessive restraint was used and that the prolonged
restraint of Roger was (at the very least) negligent.
We had hoped, post the Macpherson Report into the death of Stephen
Lawrence, that justice would be done and that those involved in restraining
our son would swiftly be held accountable for their actions.
it would seem, all roads lead to an inquest, with a very narrow remit, to find
out ‘how’ our son came to his death, not ‘why’. At the inquest, once
again, the officers concerned will be protected. The Coroner may prevent
important questions being put to them or may not allow them to give answers
which may incriminate them.
logged two complaints following Roger’s death.
The first related to his death and the second related to the lax and
unprofessional conduct of the officers from the Complaints Investigation
Bureau of the Metropolitan Police Service, who were initially appointed to
investigate this incident. Our
complaints resulted in two separate investigations—or so we were led to
believe. In fact, there was a
third investigation. This third
investigation related to evidence which had gone missing from an Officer’s
notebook. It began on 25th
October 1999, four days after the Police Complaints Authority had issued a
certificate stating that the investigation into our first complaint had been
have continually voiced our dissatisfaction with the investigation process.
The police have investigated themselves.
The Police Complaints Authority’s supervision was poor and they have
not been impartial. To date, the
officers who restrained Roger have not given a proper account of what they did
that night. They have resorted to
no comment interviews. The Police
Complaints Authority invited an American expert to suggest alternative causes
of death, which would exonerate the police officers involved. How can all this
we cannot say we are surprised with the decision of the Crown Prosecution
Service not to prosecute any officers. They
have almost never prosecuted police officers.
How could they, when :-
officers never give a proper account of their actions.
(How do we know whether or not the police officers abuse their
force the complaint is made against finances the investigation.
Prosecution Service as an organisation and the individuals within it normally
work in close collaboration with the police.
investigate the police.
is something shameful about a system where, when people die in custody, their
custodians never give a proper account of what they did and no-one is ever
giving judgment earlier this year on a case concerning the death in prison of
Alton Manning, Lord Bingham the Lord Chief Justice said, “The death of a
person in custody must always arouse
concern.....and if the death resulted from violence inflicted by agents of the
State, that concern must be profound”.
Has justice been served in Roger’s case and in the case of other people who have died in police custody? We have always called for, and will continue to call for, a public enquiry into all these deaths in custody.