Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga
On Tuesday three G4S guards were cleared of manslaughter charges, at the end of a six-week trial to determine whether Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga, 46, was killed by the guards back in October 2010 on a Heathrow plane.
Many are outraged by the jury's decision over a death that had previously been ruled as an 'unlawful killing' given the evidence stacked against the guards.
Now it has been revealed that the jury were not informed of the fact - crucial to the case many would argue - that two of the guards on trial were found to have a large number of racist text messages on their phone, mocking immigrants, various non-white groups and, some, specifically black people.
Terrence Hughes, one of the G4S guards on trial, had 76 racist texts on his phone which included the following:
“Have you noticed that if you re-arrange the letters in illegal immigrants and add just a few more letters it spells out fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit-grabbing, kid-producing, violent, non-English-speaking, cock suckers and take those hairy-faced, sandal-wearing, bomb-making, goat-fucking, smelly rag head bastards with you. How weird is that?”
“I went to my local the other day only to find a black barman. So I said give me a drink nig nog. He said that’s a bit racist, come round here and see how like it. So we swapped places and he said give me a drink you mother fucking white honkey cunt. I said sorry mate we don't serve niggers!”
“Ku Klux Klan bloke has just had his Rottweiler upgraded and chipped. It is now up to ten niggerbytes per second.”
And there were plenty found on Stuart Tribelnig's phone too, including:
"I walked past a blind black guy begging in the street. He said, ‘Any change, mate?’ I said, ‘Nope, you're still a nigger’.”
“I’ve just been sacked from my new job from the wines and spirits section at Asda. A Muslim came in and asked me to recommend a good port. I said, ‘Dover, now fuck off’.”
No texts were found on the phone of Colin Kaler.
Karon Monaghan QC wrote a report into the death of Mubenga in which a verdict of unlawful killing was reached and the coroner expressed the view that the apparent racism of the guards could not be overlooked in the case. Monaghan QC wrote, “It seems unlikely that endemic racism would not impact at all on service provision. It was not possible to explore at the Inquest the true extent of racist opinion or tolerance amongst DCOs [Detainee Custody Officers] or more widely."
The coroner added, “As it was put by one witness, the potential impact on detainees of a racist culture is that detainees and deportees are not‘personalized.’ This may, self-evidently, result in a lack of empathy and respect for their dignity and humanity potentially putting their safety at risk, especially if force is used against them. It is for that reason that the subject properly forms part of this Report.”
The report clearly stated: “There was enough evidence to cause real concern, particularly at the possibility that such racism might find reflection in race-based antipathy towards detainees and deportees and that in turn might manifest itself in inappropriate treatment of them.” Yet, both the report and the inquest verdict of 'unlawful killing' were witheld from jurors at the orders of the presiding judge.
So why were the racist texts excluded from the trial?
Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Spencer sided with defence lawyers in the trial who argued that by making jurors aware of the racist texts, they would “release an unpredictable and uncorrectable cloud of prejudices.”