Marksman seeks Rodney case review

Banbury Cake: Azelle Rodney was shot dead by a police marksman Azelle Rodney was shot dead by a police marksman

A police marksman's battle against a public inquiry ruling that he had no legal justification for shooting a robbery suspect dead is to be heard by two senior judges.

The officer, known only as E7, is challenging findings by former judge Sir Christopher Holland that the shooting of Azelle Rodney was not legally justified and that E7's accounts of what he saw in the seconds before opening fire should not be accepted.

Today the marksman's application for permission to seek a judicial review will come before Sir Brian Leveson, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Irwin at a hearing in London.

A single judge, Mr Justice Wyn Williams, has already refused permission for a review, rejecting E7's claims that the findings against him were "irrational" and procedurally flawed.

E7 killed 24-year-old Mr Rodney in an armed operation in Edgware, north London, in 2005, when officers stopped the car in which the suspect was travelling with two other men.

The officer opened fire within a second of coming to a halt beside the trio's Golf, hitting Mr Rodney six times, once each in the arm and back, and, fatally, four times in the head.

Police feared that Mr Rodney and the two other men were on their way to stage an armed heist on Colombian drug dealers and had an automatic weapon capable of firing 1,000 rounds per minute.

E7 could face criminal trial over Mr Rodney's death, and prosecutors are considering whether to bring charges.

Scotland Yard has backed his application for a judicial review.

Following a three-month public inquiry into Mr Rodney's death, Sir Christopher found that: "There was no lawful justification for shooting Azelle Rodney so as to kill him. Granted that E7 had an honest belief that Azelle Rodney posed a threat to himself or to other officers, this threat was then not such as to make it reasonably necessary to shoot at him.''

He went on: ''E7's accounts of what he saw are not to be accepted. Prior to firing he did not believe that the man who turned out to be Azelle Rodney had picked up a gun and was about to use it. Further, on the basis of what he was able to see, he could not rationally have believed that.''

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said that there was "ample evidence" that E7 did not honestly believe that Mr Rodney had picked up a weapon, and that there was "no reasonable prospect" that a court would find that the officer had been unfairly treated.

Lawyers for E7 are asking the two-judge High Court panel to reconsider the decision.

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