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Inquest into the death of Jimmy Kelenda Mubenga

An inquest into the death of Jimmy Kelenda Mubenga was conducted between 13th May 2013 and 9th July 2013. Background Mr Mubenga died on 12th October 2010 whilst in the custody of three Detention and Custody Officers (DCOs) employed by G4S.  Mr Mubenga was on a plane in the process of being deported when a struggle took place, as a result of which he was handcuffed in the rear stack position and restrained in a seat by the DCOs. Mr Mubenga was heard by witnesses to be complaining of being unable to breathe, and thereafter became unresponsive. Emergency assistance was requested but Mr Mubenga had died by the time the London Ambulance Service crew reached him. The Inquest The Inquest was conducted over 8 weeks.  Evidence was heard from 53 witnesses and statements read from a further 39 witnesses. Based on the evidence the inquest jury found that Mr Mubenga was pushed or held down by one or more of the guards, causing his breathing to be impeded; and that the guards were using unreasonable force and acting in an unlawful manner. The fact that Mr Mubenga was pushed or held down, or a combination of the two, was a significant cause of death. The jury felt that the guards would have known that they would have caused Mr Mubenga harm in their actions, if not serious harm. The jury, by a majority (nine to one) concluded that Mr Mubenga had been unlawfully killed (unlawful act killing). Recommendations The inquest made six recommendations under the following headings: (a)   Detention and Custody Officers: Powers and Accreditation (b)   The provision of Overseas Escorting Services: The Contractual Arrangements (c)    Racism: Culture and Personnel  (d)   Use of Force (e)    First aid Five of the recommendations were directed to the Home Office, who provided a response in September 2013. In relation to recommendation 4: Home Office and Ministry of Justice: (i) Rigorously review the approved methods of restraint, and specifically the use of force in overseas removals. Appropriate techniques and bespoke training packages, reflecting the environment in which restraint may need to be applied (aircraft), should be introduced expeditiously. (ii) Ensure that any new use of force policy or approved techniques take account of the risks associated with handcuffing to the rear on an aircraft.  (iii) Give clear instruction and guidance to independent monitors on any new use of force policy and approved methods of restraint and ensure that they are aware of the standards imposed by them. An Independent Advisory Panel on Non-Compliance Management (IAPNCM) has been appointed to support the National Offender Management Service in the development of a bespoke training package for use by detainee custody officers who escort adults being removed from the UK and to provide advice to UKBA on the quality and safety systems in the training package.  Lord Harris met with Stephen Shaw, Chair of the IAPNCM, on 28 October to discuss progress and it is hoped the training package will be completed by spring.   The Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) will continue to follow progress on the recommendations.

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