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April 20th 2021

Civil Liberties

CPS review into ‘unlawful killing’ of Jack Barnes will now ‘include all options including manslaughter’

Dr Neil Hudgell

Dr Neil Hudgell

Executive Chairman

CPS review into ‘unlawful killing’ of Jack Barnes will now ‘include all options including manslaughter’

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) review into the death of man who died after being restrained by staff at Manchester Victoria Station has been extended to include the option of bringing a charge for manslaughter.

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) review into the death of man who died after being restrained by staff at Manchester Victoria Station has been extended to include the option of bringing a charge for manslaughter.

Jack Barnes, a 29-year-old father from Hull, died after being chased and restrained by staff working at the station in October 2016, having pleaded that he’d been struggling to breathe seven times as he was restrained face-down on the ground.

At an inquest in Manchester earlier this year, Senior Coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’, having heard the evidence in the case.

He also agreed for body camera footage, worn by the ‘Customer Service Representatives’ (CSRs) who restrained Mr Barnes, to be released to the media.

Mr Meadows said the CSRs, who worked at the Metrolink-run station for an external company called Palladium Associates, had restrained Jack with ‘unnecessarily prolonged, grossly excessive and unreasonable force’ and that their actions had ‘amounted to an assault’.

He said it was possible to come to the conclusion of ‘unlawful manslaughter by one person or as joint enterprise.”

Mr Barnes suffered a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury after being restrained and died seven weeks later, never having awoken from a coma.

None of the men involved when restraining him, Paul Fogarty, Brian Gartside, Matthews Sellers and Stephen Rowlands, faced prosecution at the time.

Following the inquest, and the Coroner’s decision to allow body camera footage from the CSRs to be released to the media, the case received widespread media coverage and brought public condemnation of the actions of the CSRs.

At one stage, the body camera picked up Mr Rowlands saying ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll just put him out’ and telling Mr Barnes: ‘If you struggle, I will put you to sleep. It won’t kill you but you will go to sleep for a while.’

In March the CPS said it was unable to reconsider manslaughter due to there being ‘no new medical evidence to establish a clear link between Mr Barnes’s death and the actions of the suspects.’

However, following representations from solicitor Neil Hudgell, who is representing Jack’s mother Patricia Gerrard, that decision has been overruled.

Mr Hudgell said: “I was recently contacted by the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor who admitted that the decision to only review part of this case had been wrong, and that it will now proceed to a full ‘all options’ review of the case.

“This means that all the evidence gathered during the investigation by Greater Manchester Police, and the evidence from the recent Inquest into Jack’s death, will be reviewed again to consider whether any criminal offences, including manslaughter, should be pursued.”

Decision expected from review by end of May

Mr Hudgell, the Executive Chairman of Hudgell Solicitors, said he has also been informed that the CPS has taken the decision that the review should not be conducted by a lawyer involved in the initial review back in 2018, but by somebody who has not previously had any involvement.

“We’ve been told the review, which is already started, is being led by a lawyer with considerable experience in homicide cases and his review will then be overseen by the Chief Crown Prosecutor and the Deputy Crown Prosecutor, and completed by the end of May,” added Mr Hudgell.

“It is clear that the CPS has recognised the significance and importance of the evidence which came to light during the recent inquest into Jack’s death.

“I know Jack’s family are grateful that they have listened to our representations and that the circumstances of his death are being fully reviewed, with a fresh and independent eye, with all prosecuting options again being considered.

“Jack’s family are determined to keep fighting for justice for him and they feel this is another positive step following the findings of the Coroner earlier this year.”

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