London

High Court rules Jermaine Baker police officer can retire

Jermaine Baker
Image caption Jermaine Baker was shot in Bracknell Close, near Wood Green Crown Court

A senior officer involved in a Met operation in which a man was shot dead by police is being allowed to retire, despite being under investigation.

Jermaine Baker, 28, from Tottenham, was killed in north London last December.

A legal bid by his family in the name of his four-year-old daughter to stop the officer - known as "officer FE16" - retiring failed and a High Court judge ruled he was free to leave.

Mr Baker's "outraged" mother vowed to continue her "fight for justice".

The 52-year-old officer is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission but will retire at midnight and will not face disciplinary proceedings.

He is set to take up a new career as an adviser to a television production company.

Mr Baker and two other men were waiting in a car to try to free a prisoner who was being taken to Wood Green Crown Court.

Misconduct inquiry

Officer FE16 was not the officer who fired the fatal shot but was in charge of the tactical operation.

The legal action was launched in the name of Mr Baker's daughter - known only as AB - through her mother acting as her "litigation friend".

Lawyers had sought a court order to stop FE16 from retiring, giving them time to seek judicial review of the Met's decision not to suspend him from duty.

They said officer FE16 should be suspended from duty, which would have meant he would still have been liable to face disciplinary action.

The judge, Mr Justice Mitting, said there had been a prospect of the officer facing misconduct charges.

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But he said the likely benefit to Mr Baker's family if those proceedings went ahead was "not great" and was outweighed by the "serious interference" they would cause to the officer's right "to conduct his life as he wishes".

The judge said the allegation against FE16 concerned a briefing which "may not have given an entirely accurate picture" about whether those in the car in which Mr Baker died were "in possession of an actual firearm".

The judge stressed there was no suggestion that FE16 was retiring to avoid disciplinary action, nor was there any possibility of him facing trial.

He had already given notice that he would retire in September after a 30-year career when he was told he was under investigation.

The Met firearms officer who fired the fatal shot is under criminal caution, with decisions pending on whether he will face a criminal trial.

'They have failed me'

Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest, said: "We find the decision to allow a police officer to retire whilst under IPCC investigation into the fatal shooting a young man indefensible.

"This can only undermine family and public confidence in the investigation process. All police shootings must be subject to rigorous and exhaustive investigation and every individual police officer involved should be held accountable for their actions until the investigation conclude."

Mr Baker's mother Margaret Smith said she was concerned that the IPCC had "allowed this to happen".

"I feel they have failed me and my family. This will not deter us - the fight for justice for Jermaine will go on," she said.

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