G4S guards face manslaughter charge

Blackpool Citizen: Jimmy Mubenga, pictured with his wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana, died while being restrained on a flight back to his native Angola Jimmy Mubenga, pictured with his wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana, died while being restrained on a flight back to his native Angola

Three G4S guards are to be charged with manslaughter over the death of a father-of-five as he was deported from the UK.

Jimmy Mubenga, 46, died in restraints on board a flight from Heathrow airport to his native Angola in October 2010.

Colin Kaler, 51, Terrence Hughes, 53, and Stuart Tribelnig, 38, who were tasked with removing him, are to be charged with unlawful act manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter as an alternative, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Prosecutors decided in July 2012 that no charges should be brought in relation to Mr Mubenga's death. However, the case was reconsidered by the CPS after a verdict of unlawful killing was returned at the 46-year-old father-of-five's inquest.

Mr Mubenga's widow Adrienne Makenda Kambana said she and her children had "waited a long time for this decision", while a statement sent by solicitors on behalf of the three custody officers said they will be "vigorously denying these charges in court".

Mr Mubenga's widow said: "My children and I have waited a long time for this decision. We hope the CPS will now move this case forward quickly. We feel like we are another step closer to getting justice for Jimmy."

Kaler, from Bedfordshire, Hughes, from Hampshire and Tribelnig, from Surrey, who worked for G4S Care and Justice Services UK Limited at the time of Mr Mubenga's death, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 7.

However, FTSE 100 firm G4S will not face charges of corporate manslaughter after the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence for such a prosecution.

A statement sent by solicitors on behalf of Hughes, Kaler and Tribelnig said: "My clients are very disappointed with the CPS's decision, having previously been told after a very lengthy police investigation that no charges would be brought against them. They will be vigorously denying these charges in court."

Mr Mubenga was in the process of applying for permission to stay in the UK permanently when it was decided he should be deported after serving two years in jail for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Prior to his deportation, Mr Mubenga and his wife had been living in Ilford, east London, after arriving in the UK from Angola in 1994.

Mr Mubenga died of cardio-respiratory collapse, where the heart stops beating and a person stops breathing, the inquest found.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of CPS Special Crime, said: "We have completed a fresh review of all of the evidence relating to the death of Jimmy Mubenga, including the new evidence arising from the inquest, and decided that three men should be prosecuted for manslaughter.

"There is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute Colin Kaler, Terrence Hughes and Stuart Tribelnig."

Mark Scott, solicitor for Mr Mubenga's family, with Bhatt Murphy solicitors, said: "The family look to the Crown Prosecution Service now to ensure that they prosecute the case with the rigour and robustness required by the evidence available to them.

"It has been a three-and-a-half year struggle for the family to get to this point and they hope to get on with their lives once this final challenge is met."

A G4S spokeswoman said: "The death of anyone in our care is deeply felt by all of us and the death of Mr Mubenga was a tragic event.

"The welfare of those in our care is always our top priority and we took great care to ensure that our employees on this contract, which has been carried out by another provider since November 2011, were made aware of their responsibilities in this respect.

"These employees were also trained, screened and vetted to the standards defined by strict Home Office guidelines.

"We believe that at all times we acted appropriately and in full compliance with the terms of our contract with UKBA and it should be noted that the Crown Prosecution Service found there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against G4S in this case."

Rosie Brighouse, legal officer for Liberty, said: " Jimmy Mubenga's death exposed huge problems which can still be found in today's deportation system.

"Our Human Rights Act provided his family with a detailed inquest and caused the CPS to think again, yet policy reform remains nowhere to be seen.

"The Home Office has failed to take the Coroner's recommendations on board and deportees continue to be at risk."

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