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Home Secretary urged to get justice for Julian

SUPPORT: Maxie Hayles speaking during an event celebrating Julian’s life at the Cap Centre, in Smethwick.

PRESSURE IS mounting on Home Secretary Theresa May to intervene in the case of a man who died four years ago after allegedly being restrained by bouncers outside a bar in Manchester.

An online petition has been launched urging the Home Secretary to ask the Attorney General to review the circumstances surrounding Julian Webster’s death in April 2009.

It follows a special memorial day and celebration of the 24-year-old’s life on Saturday, May 18, organised by the Webster family and their long-time supporter Maxie Hayles, former chair of Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU).

The petition, organised by community activist Desmond Jaddoo, aims to put pressure on the legal system to take another look at the case. A judicial review is also being planned.

Solicitor Errol Robinson of McGrath & Co, who represents the Webster family, said: “This remains a deeply troubling and tragic case and we will be pursuing all legal options in the pursuit of justice.”

In 2009, two men were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and were placed on police bail for several months until January 2010.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Manchester claimed there was insufficient evidence to prosecute and as a result, dropped the case, prompting the Webster family and supporters to stage a rally outside its offices in May 2010.

In May 2012, a jury at an inquest returned a narrative verdict on Julian’s death.


UNITED: Julian’s parents Neville and Sonia Webster at Cannon Street Memorial Church service in Handsworth

The coroner did not leave a verdict of unlawful killing open to the jury, despite the inquest being told that the chin-lock in which Julian was held by one of the bouncers played a ‘significant role’ in his death.

However, the inquest also heard medical evidence that a previously undiagnosed heart condition made Julian more vulnerable, especially when under stress.

Jaddoo said he was writing to Bob Jones, the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC), to ask him to liaise with the Manchester PCC on the case.

He said: “This case should have been a straightforward one of manslaughter with a jury being allowed to make a decision in a criminal court.

“The police had arrested those deemed to be responsible but the CPS dropped the case due to a lack of evidence. This is simply not good enough.”

Earlier, during an evening to celebrate Julian’s life at the Cap Centre in Smethwick, Hayles said: “The CPS has a reputation for failing to prosecute when it concerns black deaths. Justice for the Webster family is still being denied, but they have shown great dignity and pride over the past four years.”

Family and friends from the US and Jamaica gathered at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church in Handsworth for the commemoration led by Pastor Bryan Scott and keynote speaker Bishop Dr Joe Aldred.

Aldred said seeking justice was not easy and brought enormous pressure on a family. He urged the Websters’ crusade for the truth to be the ‘glue’ that keeps them together.

Julian’s aunt, Carmen McFarlane, who flew in from Jamaica, said: “Justice is a hard thing to fight for. It took Doreen Lawrence 20 years. We have done only four so far, but we will never give up.”
Julian’s mum Sonia added: “My son went out for a night with his friends and never came home. Someone is responsible and I want justice for him.”

To support the campaign, visit http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-home-secretary-theresa-may-to-...

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