A High Court judge has returned an open verdict on the death of
mentally ill black man Roger Sylvester, who died after being
restrained by police, writes Paul
The judge previously quashed an inquest’s verdict of
Mr Justice Collins said the coroner had misdirected the inquest
jury in telling them they could consider an unlawful killing
verdict against the officers involved.
The evidence for considering such a verdict was “very
tenuous” and there had been no criticism of the police, said
Collins in his final judgment in the judicial review of the inquest
into the death of Sylvester in north London in 1999.
After the judgment, Sylvester’s cousin Justice Waldron
told Community Care, mentally ill people should not be treated the
way Roger was.
He said: “The way they treated him was inhuman. He was
naked, handcuffed and restrained. It is not a way to treat someone
who is vulnerable. The police should be taking care of people like
that, not, in fact, aggravating the situation and causing
The judge also said there was nothing to be gained from a fresh