The Abatans need funds for inquest

The Abatans need funds for inquest


Written by: Harmit Athwal

Next week, on 11 October, the inquest is due to begin into the death of Jay Abatan, who was murdered eleven years ago in January 1999.

Jay’s family have had to fight for an inquest to be held at all. It was thought by the coroner that an inquest was not required as there had been a criminal trial concerning the attack on Jay’s brother and two police investigations. (Read an IRR News story: ‘Justice for Jay Abatan – ‘an uphill struggle”).

An inquest is only being held because Jay’s family campaigned for one for so long. After many legal wranglings the coroner was finally persuaded to hold an inquest into the circumstances behind Jay’s death. However, despite the active campaign, the family are having to fund the legal costs of the inquest themselves and have been denied access to some of the evidence/material that other parties have access to. The police, the hospital and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are all likely to have legal representation at the inquest, paid for from public funds, yet Jay Abatan’s family have been denied funding. This is despite recommendations in the Macpherson Report, following the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, that: ‘there should be advance disclosure of evidence and documents as of right to parties who have leave from a Coroner to appear at an Inquest’ and ‘consideration be given to the provision of Legal Aid to victims or the families of victims to cover representation at an Inquest in appropriate cases.’

Inexplicably, the coroner appears to be basing her inquest hearing on documents obtained during the first police investigation into the murder of Jay Abatan. The initial Sussex police investigation into the attack was discredited by the IPCC in 2004, following complaints made by the family. Fifty-seven major failings were found. Michael Abatan, Jay’s brother, is concerned that the disclosure of evidence had been piecemeal and that the family had real concerns on how the inquest was to rely on statements from the first investigation.

He told IRR News: ‘The family are desperate for the inquest to be held and for evidence on how Jay was treated in hospital and how the police investigated the attack to be heard in public. We are desperate to raise the funds so that we can be properly represented at the inquest as the police, hospital and IPCC will be, in order to obtain some sort of justice for Jay.’

The family urgently need funds to be properly legally represented at the inquest. and if you can help with making a donation towards the legal costs it would make a real difference to the family campaign, which has and continues to fight for justice following the murder of Jay Abatan. See below for details on how to donate towards the costs of the inquest.

Please send money to Hickman & Rose solicitors, clearly marked ‘Justice for Jay’, alternatively pay money straight in to the Hickman and Rose Client account at Natwest Bank Plc: Sort Code: 60-80-07, Account number: 54010519. For international transfers: IBC: NWBKGB2L, I-BAND number: GB38NWBK60800754010519. Please remember to use ‘Justice for Jay’ in the reference.

Related links

IRR News story: ‘Justice for Jay Abatan – ‘an uphill struggle”

IRR News story: ‘Death case throws up police failings’

Justice for Jay

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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