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Doctor faces charge over death in police cell

24/11/2010

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised a charge of gross negligence manslaughter against Dr Hisham El-Baroudy, a former forensic medical examiner, in relation to a death in police custody in 2009.

Mr Andrzej Rymarzak died of opiate and alcohol intoxication in the custody suite at Chelsea police station, London, early in the morning on 22 January 2009. He was examined hours earlier by Dr El-Baroudy, who certified that he was fit to be detained.

Sally Walsh, reviewing lawyer for the CPS Special Crime Division, said: "I have decided that Dr El-Baroudy should be charged with gross negligence manslaughter for his conduct on the night of Mr Rymarzak's death.

"I am satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving that Dr El-Baroudy owed Mr. Rymarzak a duty of care, that he was grossly negligent and that his negligence contributed to Mr Rymarzak's death. I am also satisfied that a prosecution is clearly in the public interest."

Dr El-Baroudy has been summonsed to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 6th January.

The CPS received a full file of evidence on Mr Rymarzak's death from the Independent Police Complaints Commission in September 2010.

The file also contained evidence concerning the conduct of four police officers and a civilian dedicated detention officer present at the custody suite at various times on the evening of 21 January and morning of 22 January 2009.

Offences of gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice were considered in relation to their actions, but the CPS has concluded there is insufficient evidence to charge any of these individuals.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. Gross negligence manslaughter is a common law offence punishable by up to life imprisonment upon conviction.
  3. The four police officers present at the custody suite at various times included an inspector, two police sergeants and a police constable.
  4. Andrzej Rymarzak was arrested near Old Brompton Road on 21 January 2009 after attacking an ambulance crew that had come to his assistance.  The crew was responding to a call from a member of the public who had seen Mr Rymarzak in distress.
  5. There was no evidence to suggest that any officer involved in Mr Rymarzak's arrest and transportation to the custody suite committed any offences or did anything that contributed to his death.
  6. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  7. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 12 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  8. The CPS employs around 8,316 people and prosecuted 982,731 cases with a conviction rate of 86.8% in the magistrates' courts and 80.7% in the Crown Court in 2009-20010. Further information can be found on the CPS website