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Chris Kaba’s family decry ‘agonising’ delay on charges on anniversary of fatal police shooting

Chris Kaba who was shot by armed police in Streatham Hill, south London, in September 2022  (PA Media)
Chris Kaba who was shot by armed police in Streatham Hill, south London, in September 2022 (PA Media)

The family of Chris Kaba are demanding a decision on whether any charges will be brought against the armed officer who fatally shot him, a year on from this death.

Expectant father Mr Kaba, 24, was shot once in the head in Streatham after his car was boxed in by officers tailing him through Kirkstall Gardens on September 5, 2022.

The Metropolitan Police firearms officer, known only as NX121, was suspended from duty and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched a homicide investigation.

Prosecutors have had the file of evidence, put together by the watchdog, since March but a decision on charges has yet to be announced.

More than five months on, Mr Kaba’s family say it is “almost unbelievable” and “agonising” that they are still waiting for answers, and accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of “failing” them through a lack of urgency in making a decision over the case.

“It is agonising not knowing the CPS decision,” his family said in a joint statement.

“We demand a charging decision without further delay. Throughout the last year there has been a lack of urgency.

“Our family, alongside the community who have supported us over the past year, have been consistent in our call for accountability.

“We believe that it was possible within six months of Chris being killed both for the IOPC to complete a well-resourced and effective criminal investigation and for the CPS to provide us with a charging decision.

“It is almost unbelievable that a year on we still wait for answers. It is agonising not knowing the CPS decision.

“It is unacceptable that we have been failed by the CPS, which has not completed its task urgently or in a timely fashion.

“We very much hope that the CPS decide in days (not weeks or months) from now in favour of a prosecution and that the truth will emerge, without further delay, through criminal proceedings.”

Daniel Machover of law firm Hickman & Rose, who represent the family, said CPS decision making, when police officers are suspects, is “too slow and cumbersome”.

“I am appalled that, after the IOPC took almost seven months to complete its investigation, the CPS has failed to complete its task within a further five months,” Mr Machover said.

Director of charity Inquest, Deborah Coles, said waiting for a decision over potential charges “exacerbates the family’s trauma and grieving process”.

The CPS told Sky News it does not provide timescales for decisions on charges.

A spokeswoman said: “We are carefully considering the file of evidence to determine whether criminal charges should be brought in relation to the fatal shooting of Chris Kaba.

“As always, we will make that decision independently, based on the evidence and in line with our legal test.”

Mr Kaba’s death a year ago sparked waves of grief and protest in the capital with thousands marching on Parliament Square demanding justice.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said at the time: “Chris had his whole life ahead of him and his death has had a huge impact on Londoners, and in particular Black Londoners, with anger, pain and fear felt across communities, along with a desire for change and justice.”

The IOPC had disclosed that the shooting occurred as police “attempted to stop and contain” the Audi that Mr Kaba was driving and that the pursuit was prompted after the vehicle, which was not registered to Mr Kaba, was linked by automatic numberplate technology to a firearms incident.

Mr Kaba’s family said in a statement released on Tuesday: “Chris was so loved by our family and all his friends. He had a bright future ahead of him before his life was cut short.

“We must see justice for Chris.”