UK police refuse to disclose identity of uncharged suspect in Covid spitting death

Originally published at: UK police refuse to disclose identity of uncharged suspect in Covid spitting death | Boing Boing


I’m not an expert in UK law, but it sounds like a couple of lawsuits are in order here.


In addition to the suspect’s being a white (easiest guess ever), middle-aged male I wonder if there are other reasons why the transport police are going to so much trouble to protect him despite the outcry. I have the feeling that this wasn’t just some no-name yobbo but rather some highly privileged, perhaps titled piece of garbage.


There is something odd going on here.

Apparently "as part of his occupation’’ the man received an antibody test on March 25 2020 (4 days after the incident) which showed that he had not been infected with coronavirus. I don’t know what occupations would be getting antibody tests at that time, but they weren’t widely available- in fact, IIRC they weren’t officially validated at the time, and the tests that the UK had at that point were later shown to be insufficiently accurate.

More details here

If I was in a tinfoil-hat mood, I might even think that the fact that this man had access to an antibody test on March 25 2020 was itself something that was being kept secret.

From the above article (based on the BBC’s investigative reporting), I don’t think there is enough evidence to convict him of murder or manslaughter, or even for there to be enough chance of a conviction for the CPS to prosecute. There probably is enough evidence to convict him of harassment and/or common assault, both of which have a maximum prison sentence of 6 months but are normally punished with a fine or community service.


In the UK we release the name when someone is charged, not when they’re arrested (witness the recent F—ç–s debacle). There are some fairly broad “public interest” exceptions to this rule, but the default is “do not publish”. This will probably end up in court.


Ms. Mujinga’s family should also have the opportunity to bring a civil suit, especially if the BTP are refusing to do the right thing and have this “gentleman” criminally prosecuted for harassment or assault. In throwing themselves in front of this creep to save him from any consequences for his vile actions they’re about to experience a whole bunch of consequences of their own.


Fixed, thank you.


The “secret suspects” problem is interesting. We generally don’t allow police to make secret charges/arrests for the obvious Kafkaesque reasons. But suspicion alone now involves so much interaction, data-gathering and surveillance that a similar veil of hazard falls on officials involved in “suspecting”.

This guy was more than a suspect, too. He was accused of a specific crime by its victim, who died within days due to the exact illness that makes the alleged crime so ominous. Police deciding it was an innocent cough? Sure, PC Plod. Police protecting suspects from media exposure and civil litigation because no-one else gets to decide otherwise? To quote John Cleese’s QC in A Fish Called Wanda: “Fuck off, pigs.”


UK cops are legally required to protect people?


I’d be curious to see how quickly the identity of the uncharged suspect would happen if the races of the two were reversed? Just think if a black man had spit in the face of a white female transit worker that subsequently died two weeks later from covid-19, just contemplate the uproar and gnashing of teeth.



I’ll go you one better by saying I don’t know anything about any law (and I don’t obey 'em!), but I’ve heard about people filing suit against “John Doe”, and that giving them standing to subpoena people who know the defendant’s identity.


That is definitely a thing in US Law. I hope that it’s a thing in UK Law as well. (Of course, the ultimate decision to issue a subpoena rests with a judge, which is as it should be; privacy is also important.)


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