Solicitor sparks outrage by saying PC Harper's family DID get justice
Solicitor sparks outrage by saying PC Andrew Harper’s family DID get justice and must accept manslaughter verdicts and jail terms of traveller trio who dragged officer to death
- Sophie Khan tweeted that PC Harper’s family were wrong to say justice had not been done when his killers were jailed for manslaughter but cleared of murder
- Ms Khan has been accused of bringing her profession as a lawyer into disrepute
- Comments come days after PC Harper’s mother called for a change in the law which would mean those who kill emergency workers serve life sentences
A lawyer has been accused of bringing her profession into disrepute after claiming PC Andrew Harper’s family did get justice for his death and they must accept a manslaughter verdict.
Sophie Khan, a solicitor and director of Police Action Centre which provides advice to those with grievances against the police, tweeted that it was wrong to suggest Andrew Harper’s family had not received justice.
Her comments sparked a fierce backlash on social media with hundreds of people criticising her views.
Solicitor Sophie Khan caused outrage after suggesting PC Andrew Harper’s family were wrong to claim they had faced injustice after his killers were jailed for manslaughter 16 and 13-year sentences. PC Harper’s mother has previously said the family feel justice has not been done
The row has erupted days after PC Harper’s family have launched a campaign for ‘Andrew’s Law’ calling for full-life prison terms for those who kill emergency workers.
The 28-year-old Thames Valley Police officer died as he tried to stop three thieves fleeing after they stole a quad bike in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire, on August 15 last year.
PC Harper was caught in a crane strap dangling from the back of a Seat Toledo driven by Long, and dragged to his death.
The police constable’s mother, Debbie Adlam, also called for tougher sentences, and said that ‘something needs to change’ after those responsible for her son’s death were handed 16-year and 13-year sentences at the Old Bailey on July 31.
Henry Long, 19, and 18-year-olds Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers were sentenced for the newlywed’s manslaughter but cleared of murder.
The Attorney General’s Office said on Tuesday it had been asked to review the sentences given to the killers after claims they were too lenient.
PC Harper died as he tried to stop three thieves fleeing after they stole a quad bike in Stanford Dingley, Berkshire. Since his killers were jailed there has been mounting anger that the sentences were not longer after they were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter
PC Andrew Harper’s mother Deborah Adlam has spoken out and said the family feels they have not received justice for Andrew’s death. She has launched a campaign to change the law
Starting her own campaign on Wednesday, also called ‘Andrew’s Law’, Mrs Adlam said: ‘We got to the end of our trial and we didn’t feel like justice had been done, we felt like we had been punched.
‘To get the sentence come down to the amount that it did, we didn’t walk away feeling that we had done Andrew proud.’
But yesterday, Sophie Khan said it was wrong to suggest the sentences were unfair.
She tweeted: ‘It is wrong of PC Andrew Harper’s family to say they have faced injustice.
‘The boys have been tried and have received severe sentences for manslaughter.’
When accused of being unprofessional, she added: ‘It’s a matter of fact that PC Harper’s family have seen justice.
‘They must accept the jury verdict that he was not murdered. It is the family of Frank Ogboru, and others who die in police custody/restraint who will never see justice for their loved ones killing.’
TV presenter Rav Wilding was among those who called her out on her views, stating: ‘Your job as a member of the Law Society is not to tell the families of the deceived [sic] how to feel. Incredibly unprofessional of you to do so on a public platform.’
He later added that Ms Khan was bringing her profession ‘into disrepute’ to which Ms Khan replied: ‘Whether in my professional or personal capacity I can say that PC Harper’s family are wrong to say they have faced injustice, when there has been no injustice.
‘The injustice is faced by those whose loved ones died at the hands of the police. Real, and long lasting injustice.’
Other Twitter users also accused Ms Khan of being ‘unprofessional’ with one stating: ‘Until you have experienced any of the feelings that PC Harper’s family are currently going through you have NO RIGHT to comment on what is or isn’t acceptable to that family.
‘As far as they’re concerned it was not the justice the men (not boys !!) deserved.’
Surrey County Councillor Jeff Harris added: ‘Don’t make it personal…You bring your profession into disrepute.
‘If a family feel they have suffered injustice, it’s their belief…not yours, that counts…Thank you.’
Another Twitter user said: ‘I cannot believe what I’ve just read! How can you say they’ve received severe sentences?!
‘Our courts have let PC Harper’s family down and these young men are laughing their faces off knowing they’ll be out in no time.’
Ms Khan made headlines in January when she accused PC Stuart Outten of ‘excessive force’ and said the criminal who attacked him had acted in ‘self-defence’.
PC Stuart Outten was attacked by machete-wielding Muhammad Rodwan, 56, after the officer stopped his white van because it was not insured.
The 29-year-old victim, later dubbed Britain’s bravest policeman, survived the onslaught last August only by firing his Taser twice at the homeless driver.
Ms Khan wrote on Twitter she was surprised the Metropolitan Police ‘haven’t started disciplinary action against PC Outten for assault and battery on Muhammad Rodwan’.
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