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New probe into how man, 23, died after being restrained by police


THE mother of a student who died after being forcibly restrained by police officers said she hopes a new investigation can bring the family "closure".

Olaseni Lewis, 23, of South Norwood, was pinned down by 11 officers for 40 minutes while a patient at Royal Bethlem Hospital on August 31, 2010, and died four days later.

A fresh investigation into the death of Olaseni is set to be launched after the Independent Police Complaints Commission took the unusual step of inviting the family to make a High Court Appeal against its original investigation.

If their appeal, which the family filed last Friday, is successful it could lead to criminal proceedings being brought against the officers involved.

The IPCC has apologised to Olaseni's family about their original investigation, admitting there could have been actions by police officers which justify criminal proceedings.

Olaseni, a successful IT graduate, had voluntarily admitted himself to the psychiatric hospital because he did not feel well.

The former Archbishop Tennison's School pupil was restrained by officers after they were called to an incident at the hospital, but fell into a coma and never woke up.

In February, it emerged the IPCC were reviewing its first inquiry, in which it accepted written statements from the officers involved.

However, the police watchdog would now like to interview the officers under caution, something which the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is refusing.

An MPS spokesman said it would "defend robustly" against any attempts to interview the officers on the basis of conduct.

The IPCC will challenge this in a contested hearing.

Sophie Naftalin, a lawyer for Mr Lewis' family, said she imagined the hearing would take place in September.

Olaseni's mother Ajibola Lewis, 63, told the Advertiser: "The IPCC have made lots of mistakes from the start. This is what they should have done in the first place.

"Their apology is a bit ironic but we take it in good faith.

"We met the commissioner and she came up with the idea. It's been three years and we haven't even had an inquest yet.

"We haven't had any sort of closure yet. We hope this is the start of that."

The IPCC is unable to quash the findings of its original investigation without a court order. As a result of this, it has agreed with Olaseni's family that it will not contest their claim in court and will pay their costs.

The MPS has also indicated it would not contest the family's claim to have the original probe's findings quashed.

Croydon North MP Steve Reed, who has worked with the family to put pressure on the IPCC, said it was "about time" the case was reinvestigated.

He added: "I find it hugely disappointing that the Met were trying to block this. They should have been as open as possible to try and find out what happened.

"If a perfectly fit and healthy 23-year-old man dies, then something has got to be wrong. This is something we have to make sure doesn't happen to any family again."

New probe into how man, 23, died after being restrained by police

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