Truth and justice for Onese
18 May 2017
Ann Power has campaigned for the past 20 years to uncover the truth about what happened when her husband, Onese Power, died in a high speed police pursuit in 1997. She now has permission from the Attorney General to make an application for a High Court Order to open a fresh inquest. Ann has raised over £3,000 to fund this process via the legal campaign funding website Crowd Justice.
Ann represented herself in the first inquest in February 1998, while an experienced barrister represented the police. After hearing evidence of an alleged contact between a pursuing police car and Onese’s motorbike, an inquest jury returned an inconclusive ‘Open Verdict’. Since then, a suppressed report has revealed that the Met investigated an expert whose influential evidence was presented to the coroner’s court.
After twenty years Onese’s family are still fighting for answers concerning his death. Their campaign has public significance, not least because it is a heart-breaking story of how a bereaved family was denied disclosure of documents by the police, denying the family the opportunity to prepare its questions before the inquest, but also because even with the support of the Attorney General, Ann has to find the money to take her case to the High Court for the Order requiring a fresh inquest.
Although Ann’s legal representation at a fresh inquest may well qualify for exceptional legal aid funding, the task of securing a fresh inquest does not. This is another example of where crowdfunding – see https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-onese/ – has replaced or supplemented legal aid to ensure robust and effective oversight of public bodies involved in fatalities.
Ann Power says:
“We passionately believe that all deaths involving the police must be investigated properly and explored in much greater detail than happened in Onese’s case. We are asking for help in our struggle to ensure that we secure a full and fearless fresh inquest into his death. We also want to raise public awareness about the need to ensure that, in the wake of controversial deaths, bereaved families are not left living in limbo, perhaps for the rest of their lives.”
Daniel Machover, the solicitor supporting Onese’s family, says:
“The police must be open and transparent when confronting allegations that mistakes have been made. This obligation is acutely important in fatal cases. The persistent failure to provide timely disclosure of all the relevant information on Onese’s death will remain a blot on their record whatever the result. We are confident of helping Ann to secure a fresh inquest but it’s really disappointing that the Met has made things so difficult for Ann over the years. This case is a positive reminder that the public will step in to ensure police accountability where legal aid cannot.”