Hope of justice at last for Olaseni Lewis

 In News, Parliament

There’s fresh hope of justice for Olaseni Lewis, who died aged 23 after being taken to hospital when his behaviour became uncharacteristically agitated.  He died shortly after being subjected to a period of severe restraint by police officers.  Although Olaseni Lewis died nearly three years ago there has never been a full inquest into what happened thanks to a legal wrangle between the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the  Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.  The IPCC admit their initial report was flawed and want to reopen the case.

Steve Reed MP raised the case in Parliament in May and afterwards took Mr Lewis’s parents to raise concerns with Government minister Norman Lamb MP.   Reed and the family demanded Government action to allow the IPCC to re-open the case, a move being blocked by the Metropolitan Police.

The IPCC have now agreed to cover the family’s costs so they can take the matter to the High Court to quash the initial report.   That would allow a new criminal investigation to open with police officers questioned under caution.

An  IPCC statement says: “We take the concerns raised by Mr Lewis’ family seriously and our focus has not shifted from providing them with answers to what happened to their son.  We have reopened our investigation and have determined that there is an indication that officers may have committed criminal offences.”

Steve Reed MP said: “It’s wholly unacceptable that the Lewis family have been forced to wait three years to find out how and why their son died in hospital.  The Government and the authorities must work together so that a criminal investigation can begin as quickly as possible.  The mental health service must learn lessons so there can be no repeat of what this family have suffered.  It’s time for justice for Olaseni Lewis.”