Mark Duggan still waiting for justice

On August 4, 2011, Mark Duggan was shot dead in North London by armed police. To date there has been no inquest nor proper investigation.


A photograph of Mark Duggan released shortly after his death.

Mark Duggan was a 29 year old father of four who was shot dead by an officer from Operation Trident, the specialist police unit that investigates black-on-black crime with a heavy emphasis on gun crime. The precise circumstances of his death are still shrouded in mystery due to the clandestine way the Metropolitan Police have been allowed to close ranks. Duggan was in the back of a mini-cab which was surrounded by armed officers; two shots were fired, and he was killed instantly.

The first report claimed there had been an exchange of fire; later reports revealed that he had been unarmed, and that both shots were fired by an unnamed specialist firearms officer. Although there were up to 31 police witnesses to the shooting and its immediate aftermath, not one has been questioned by the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission. Instead, they were permitted to write statements individually, with the possibility of there having been collusion between some or all of them.

Duggan’s death and the non-response to it was the catalyst for what became known as the English riots of August 2011. Starting in North London where he was killed, they spread quickly to other parts of the capital and then to other cities. A number of people lost their lives in this civil unrest, but the death toll could have been far higher due to fires that were started in especially North London, Clapham and Croydon.

Last year, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster was tried for supplying Duggan with the gun found near the scene of the shooting; this resulted in a mistrial, but he was retried last month and convicted. The inquest into Duggan’s death was due to start January 28. It has now been delayed until (at least) September.

Another sinister aspect of this case is that the armed police who testified at the Hutchinson-Foster trial did so anonymously, something that is totally anathema to the open justice Britain once prided itself on. We can expect to see the same shoddy practice at the inquest, if it ever happens.

[The above article was published originally February 18, 2013].

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