The High Court has recently turned down an application for judicial review of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) decision to downgrade an investigation into the death in police custody of Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah.
Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah died on 3 July 2008 after a stop and search by police officers in High Wycombe (read an IRR News story: ‘Family question police role in death of Asian man’). The family have serious concerns over the police conduct over his death and the subsequent IPCC investigation.
The widow Mussarat Habib, took the decision to go to the High Court after the IPCC downgraded its investigation from a criminal one to a misconduct one. Although the judicial review was turned down, the judge – Mr Justice Collins – recognised the concerns the family had about the IPCC investigation. He was critical of the decision making by the IPCC investigator. He said that the investigator’s decision that there was not a causal link between Habib’s death and the incident with the police officers was ‘not on its face appropriate’ and ‘not one in law that he was entitled to take’. The judge asked the IPCC to give assurances that no criminal offences have been yet ruled out in the investigation and the IPCC gave the judge and the family that assurance. While the judge thought that the legal challenge to the way the investigation was being carried out was premature he fully recognised the family’s concerns.
A spokesperson for the family campaign said: ‘The family’s faith in the IPCC has been damaged but the family hope that in the light of the fresh assurances that there will now be a more rigorous investigation.’