Seni Lewis death: Family win judicial review
- 3 September 2013
- From the section London
The family of man who died after being restrained by police have won a judicial review into his death.
Olaseni Lewis died in 2010 after he collapsed during a prolonged restraint by the Met Police.
He was restrained three times, first by hospital staff and then by officers, in 45 minutes before his collapse.
The High Court result means the Independent Police Complaints Commission's (IPCC) investigation into the death has been quashed.
The officers in question will be interviewed under caution by the IPCC as part of a new inquiry.
Mr Lewis was a 23-year-old IT graduate with a degree from Kingston University and plans for postgraduate study.
After uncharacteristically odd and agitated behaviour in August 2010, he was taken to a psychiatric hospital where he collapsed after being restrained.
He never regained consciousness and died a few days later.
IPCC Deputy Chair Rachel Cerfontyne told the BBC: "We welcome the ruling by the High Court to quash the findings of our original investigation which takes us a step closer to providing the answers Mr Lewis's family has patiently waited three years for.
"The IPCC previously directed the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to record this incident as a conduct matter but they refused to do so unless the findings of the original investigation were quashed.
"The decision by the High Court, on 23 August 2013, means the force must now record the matter which will allow the IPCC to investigate whether any disciplinary or criminal offences were committed by those officers involved in restraining Mr Lewis.
"We have written to the Metropolitan Police Service drawing their attention to the High Court ruling and now expect them to expeditiously record the conduct matters so that we can proceed with our investigation.
"This has been a very long and protracted process in which we have explored all avenues available to us.
"We are determined to conduct a robust and thorough re-investigation, as it is what is demanded to finally understand what happened to Seni Lewis."
In response, the Metropolitan Police said they believed the quashing of the original investigation was the "correct course of action".
"Having fully co-operated with the original IPCC investigation, and suggested a viable way through the legal difficulties, the MPS will now fully cooperate with the forthcoming re-investigation," said a spokesperson.
"Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Seni Lewis, and we understand their search for answers.
"What is important is that those answers can now be found in a way that is legally sound."
Mr Lewis died at Mayday Hospital, now known as Croydon University Hospital, in Thornton Heath.