5 Essex Court

Barnabas Branston

Call 1999

Inquests

Barney has significant experience in inquests. He regularly represents Chief Officers, notably having been instructed on behalf of the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police as junior counsel in the Hillsborough inquests. Barney also appeared on behalf of City of London Police in the six-week inquest into the death of the newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson on the day of the G20 demonstrations.  He is currently instructed to represent the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police in the inquest into the fatal shooting of Trevor Smith.

Other police inquests in which Barney has appeared include those where death has followed episodes involving drug toxicity, positional asphyxia, Acute Behavioural Disturbance, alcohol withdrawal, mental health, restraint, taser deployment and vehicle pursuits.

Re Adrian McDonald – an article 2 inquest with a jury where the deceased collapsed after taking a large amount of cocaine and died in the rear of the police van.

Re Meirion James – an article 2 inquest with a jury where the jury found that whilst the officers’ initial restraint of the deceased had been appropriate the continuation of such restraint in the course of a prolonged struggle had contributed to his death by positional asphyxia

Re Vittoria Baker – an article 2 inquest without a jury in which the deceased was unlawfully killed by her daughter, an informal patient who had been receiving psychiatric care on an acute ward.

Re Sean Walsh – an article 2 inquest with a jury where the deceased died from complications arising from acute alcohol withdrawal.

Re Darren Pantall – an article 2 inquest with a jury where the deceased died having swallowed a package of drugs in the course of being arrested.

Re Dorothy “Cherry” Groce – a jury inquest where the deceased died in 2014 from complications arising from her being shot by a police officer.

Re Karlene Wright – an inquest into the death of a lady who fell from the seventh floor of a car park.

Re Teresita Sison – jury inquest into the death of a lady who was killed when a tree collapsed onto her in high winds.

Re Faiza Ahmed – jury inquest where the deceased, who had been diagnosed with mental health issues and was at risk of suicide, stepped in front of a train.

Re Darren Lyons – an article 2 inquest with a jury where the deceased, who had been diagnosed with mental health issues, died having been restrained in custody.

Re Jason Pearce – a jury inquest where the deceased died following a cardiac arrest caused by multiple drug toxicity or excited delirium, and after being restrained by police officers.

Re Robert Grimsley – a jury inquest where the deceased died following a cardiac arrest caused by critical stenosis and atheroma after carrying stolen lead and having been pursued by police officers.

Barney also regularly appears on behalf of Serco Home Affairs in inquests following deaths in custody, notably for those at HMP Doncaster, HMP Dovegate, HMP Thameside, HMP Lowdham Grange and HMP Norwich.

Recent examples of inquests include:

Re Wakefield – a jury inquest in which the deceased died from drug toxicity and that whilst a roll check had been sub-optimal it was not likely to have been causative of death

Re Hullock – the jury considered the various steps taken by healthcare and prison staff in an inquest in which the deceased died from bacterial meningitis

Re Tharmalingham – considering the adequacy of response to an alarm system at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Re Davies-O’Neill – considering the adequacy of mental health assessment, allegations of bullying and the efficacy of the observation regime.

Re Gary Bell – considering the adequacy of medical care given in the prison setting.

Re Samuel Gale – considering the adequacy of the ACCT process.

Re Paul Flynn – considering the adequacy of communication between the healthcare providers within the prison and the local hospital.

Re Adetekunbo Ajakaiye – considering the adequacy of medical treatment given to a prisoner returning from Sierra Leone with malaria.

Re Adam Wileman – considering the ACCT process and the application of the observation regime.

Re Duncan Drummond – considering the difficulty of establishing intent in the context of apparent suicide.

Re Jonathan Swift – considering the foreseeability of a transgender prisoner’s apparent suicide and the adequacy of the regime in place to support prisoners from that community.

Barney is also developing a practice in inquests in the general care setting, having recently appeared on behalf of an insured carer who looked after an adult male with Down’s Syndrome who died having fallen down the stairs during the night (Re Keith Simpson), on behalf of the family of a patient who was found deceased after escaping from the Trust whilst awaiting transportation under section (Re Dominic White) and on behalf of the family of a voluntary inpatient who was able to take her own life having had sodium nitrite delivered to her at the Trust’s premises (Re Alice Hart).

He has also represented an Audi dealership in the inquest into the death of one of their apprentices (Re George Cheese) and Transport for London in the inquest into the death of an apprentice waterman who fell from a ferry into the Thames (Re Benjamin Woollacott).