The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has concluded its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Leon Briggs, and has referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a decision on whether criminal charges should be brought against any individual.
The IPCC has investigated a police detention officer and five police officers for their involvement in the restraint of Mr Briggs.
Mr Briggs, a 39-year-old father of two from Luton in Bedfordshire collapsed whilst in the custody of Bedfordshire Police on 4 November 2013 after being detained under s136 Mental Health Act. Following concerns from members of the public about his behaviour, Mr Briggs was forcibly restrained on the street by police officers and taken to Luton Police Station and placed in a cell where he was also restrained. During his restraint Mr Briggs became unresponsive and an ambulance was called. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Jocelyn Cockburn, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen is representing the family of Mr Briggs.
Speaking on behalf of her clients, Jocelyn Cockburn says:
“Leon Briggs was a kind and caring father of two. He was also a vulnerable man. He was not under arrest and had committed no offence. He was detained under mental health legislation in order to take him to a ‘place of safety’.
Mr Briggs’ death has left a huge hole in his family but the further wait of nearly two and a half years for the IPCC report has added to their distress. At times they have found it difficult to trust the process given the poor track record of previous investigations into black deaths in custody.
“Nevertheless they are pleased with the outcome of the IPCC investigation and welcome the IPCC’s finding that there is an indication that four officers and a member of staff may have committed the offences of unlawful act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter, and that these offences have been referred to the CPS for a decision on prosecution.”
“After such a long wait, the family are now looking forward to the facts of the case being properly scrutinised by the CPS and hope any delay will be minimised.”
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Notes for Editors
Hodge Jones and Allen
The Civil Liberties team at Hodge Jones & Allen is one of the UK’s foremost teams in bringing actions against the police and state authorities for deaths in custody. The firm’s solicitors work closely with INQUEST, which works for truth, justice and accountability for families, and campaigns for policy change at the highest level.
Hodge Jones and Allen employs over 220 staff, based in Euston NW1. The firm’s team of specialists deal with Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease, Civil Liberties, Criminal Defence, Court of Protection, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Family Law, Military Claims, Serious Fraud, Social Housing, Wills & Probate and Property Disputes.
About Jocelyn Cockburn
Jocelyn Cockburn is a leading Civil Liberties lawyer and in 2012 was awarded Partner of the Year by The Lawyer magazine. She represents many individuals who have actions against the police, including: Neville Lawrence, the father of murdered teenage Stephen Lawrence in various on-going inquiries into the conduct of the London Metropolitan Police and has also represented the Pilkington family against Leicestershire Police Force’s failure to protect Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her severely disabled daughter in 2007 after years of torment by youths.