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The shooting of Anthony Grainger - Charging decisions

16/01/2014

Anthony Grainger, 36, was shot and killed by an officer of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on 3 March 2012 during a planned operation to arrest a group of men on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Mr Grainger was not armed when he was fatally shot. An independent investigation was then undertaken into the actions of the officers involved in the planning, approval and conduct of the operation.

The Crown Prosecution Service has decided, after careful consideration of all the evidence in this case, that there is sufficient evidence to prove that Greater Manchester Police breached the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act by failing to ensure that unnecessary risk to the suspects was avoided. It is alleged that an unnecessary exposure to risk was caused by serious deficiencies in the preparation for the police operation.

In accordance with the Act, criminal liability falls on chief officers of police as corporations sole. A corporation sole is a distinct legal entity and the person holding the office concerned does not share the criminal liability or have to personally appear in court.

Accordingly, there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, to be prosecuted as a corporation sole. 

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "We have completed our review of the evidence provided by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to the death of Anthony Grainger. After careful consideration, we have decided that the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Sir Peter Fahy, should be prosecuted as a corporation sole for failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

"In addition to every employer's responsibility towards their employees, the law also imposes a duty to ensure that work is carried out in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons outside of their employment are not exposed to risk. The chief officers of police forces are treated as employers for this purpose. It is alleged that there were serious deficiencies in the preparation for this operation that unnecessarily exposed individuals to risk.

"Criminal proceedings are active and the defendant has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

The first hearing will take place on 10 February 2014 at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The duty of an employer towards non-employees is imposed by Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Section 33(1)(a) of the Act makes it an offence to fail to discharge this duty. Upon conviction, the Crown Court may impose an unlimited fine on the employer.

Other offences considered

As part of this review, the CPS also considered whether the firearms officer who shot Mr Grainger should be charged with murder, gross negligence manslaughter or misconduct in public office. The officer has stated that he was acting in defence of himself and other officers when he fired.

Any prosecution for murder would require the CPS, amongst other elements, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that (a) the officer did not honestly believe it was necessary to use force and (b) that the force used was disproportionate in the circumstances as the officer believed them to be. In the circumstances of this case, our assessment of the evidence is that a jury would accept that the officer did believe his actions were necessary and that the level of force used in response to the threat as he perceived it to be was proportionate.

The basis for the officer's belief in the necessity of his actions is relevant to the criminal proceedings under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act and it would be inappropriate to publish any further detail at this time. There is also insufficient evidence to prosecute the officer for gross negligence manslaughter or misconduct in public office. It would be inappropriate to explain these decisions in detail at this time for the same reason.

The offence of corporate manslaughter could not be charged as GMP had no relevant duty of care towards Mr Grainger, which is an essential part of this offence. Under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007, a relevant duty exists when the corporate body owes a duty under the law of negligence as an employer, occupier or when responsible for the person's safety when detained. None of these types of duty of care were applicable to the facts of this case.

All decisions were taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

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. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.