Jurors at the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan have been told they are on a “quest to find the truth” over whether the father-of-four was lawfully killed when he was shot by armed police, sparking a wave of riots across the country.
More than two years after the 29-year-old died, the full inquest into his death at the hands of Scotland Yard marksmen began at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday.
Mr Duggan was killed when he was shot by police who stopped the taxi in which he was travelling in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011.
Local outrage at the police shooting marked the start of a wave of rioting, looting and arson across England.
The coroner, Judge Keith Cutler, told the jury: “It is a quest to find the truth. This may sound rather grand, but it is in fact an important task and one which may take us a little time.”
Several relatives and loved ones of Mr Duggan attended the hearing, and his mother, Pamela Duggan, left in tears during the afternoon session.
Mr Cutler said the jury would have to answer a number of questions, including whether Mr Duggan had been lawfully killed.
“It may be the case that the heart of your considerations will be whether Mark Duggan was killed lawfully or unlawfully,” the coroner said. “There is no dispute that Mark Duggan sadly died as a result of a bullet fired by a police officer. You will hear evidence from that officer.”
He added: “We will no doubt all listen with particular care to his explanations for his actions.”
The coroner held a short silence in Court 73 as a mark of respect for Mr Duggan’s family, and to acknowledge the “regrettable loss of a young life”.
He said: “It is right that you should know that present in court today are a number of Mark Duggan’s family and friends, and to acknowledge the grief of those family and friends and to respect that loss, we will together just have some moments of silence as we sit here to recognise the seriousness of the hearing which we are about to undertake.”
Earlier, a list of witnesses was read to the panel, including Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, who was convicted of supplying a gun to Mr Duggan. On Thursday the 11 jurors are due to visit the area where Mr Duggan died. The panel have been given anonymity and were referred to in court only by numbers.
During selection, they were asked if they had any direct connection with Mr Duggan, or his family.
They were also all asked if they had any direct connections with the Metropolitan Police Service, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the Serious Organised Crime Agency or with anyone or any business that suffered during the 2011 riots.
Speaking ahead of the inquest, Mark’s mother, said: “Since Mark was shot dead over two years ago, we have been provided with nothing but lies, misinformation, and delay.
“We hope that the truth will finally come out for the sake of all his family, not least his young children.”
The inquest, which is expected to last eight to ten weeks, is due to continue today.