originally published: 6th March 2009
The inquest of a city man who died in police custody has been adjourned again – five and a half years after his death.
Michael Powell died aged 38 in September 2003 after being detained outside his mother’s house in Wilton Street, Lozells. Ten West Midlands police officers were all cleared of using excessive force during a criminal trial at Leicester Crown Court in 2006. But the family have continued to demand answers as to how the father-of-three died.
The six-week inquest was due to start this week, but has been adjourned for the fourth time because of issues over documents that the family has asked to be disclosed.
The inquest will now not be heard until June at the earliest. Barristers acting on behalf of the police officers said they had suffered mental health problems, anxiety and unfair publicity as proceedings have continued to hang over their heads.
Speaking on behalf of the family, who were represented by Mr Powell’s mother and two sisters at the hearing at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, barrister Henrietta Hill said the family had also suffered stress waiting for the inquest. Birmingham and Solihull Coroner, Aidan Cotter, said: “I am concerned by the lack of information that has been put before the public, even at this late stage.”