Seni Lewis death: IPCC taken to court over report
- 19 July 2013
- From the section London
The family of a man who died days after being restrained by police have asked judges to review the police watchdog's report on his death.
Olaseni Lewis, known as Seni, died in 2010 after he collapsed during a prolonged restraint by the police.
His parents want the High Court to quash the initial report.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it needed to begin a new investigation, but the Metropolitan Police said that was unlawful.
'Wrongs were done'
Seni, a 23-year-old IT graduate from Kingston University, died after being taken to hospital when his behaviour became uncharacteristically odd and agitated.
He was restrained three times - first by hospital staff and then by 11 police officers - for 45 minutes before his collapse.
He never regained consciousness and died three days later.
The IPCC ruled in its original report, before it had full access to all the evidence, that no police officer was at fault.
It now says a criminal act may have happened and has told the family to take legal action so that it can reinvestigate.
His parents, Ajibola and Conrad Lewis, said: "We feel that by going to the High Court it's been acknowledged that wrongs were done and they're going to correct them.
"The IPCC has apologised and said they want to do things right and they want to do another investigation and investigate the police under caution."
IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "We take the concerns raised by Mr Lewis's 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 and, or, behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings."
She said the IPCC would not contest their claim and that it would pay their costs.
The Met Police said: "We have always expressed our desire to assist the family in understanding the circumstances of Mr Lewis's death in any way possible and will continue to co-operate with the IPCC.
"The commissioner is adopting a neutral stance [to the judicial review]."