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Thursday, 4 March 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture

Restraining Police Restraint

Professor Leslie Thomas QC, Deborah Coles, Dr Nat Cary

We hear too often about sudden death in adults following prolonged and often unnecessary police restraint. What do people know about the dangers of restraint and how widespread is our understanding of such deaths? 

This talk by Professor Leslie Thomas QC, with a panel of distinguished guests including Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, and Dr Nat Cary, a forensic pathologist, explores the legal implications facing the state and what steps can be taken and implemented to save more lives and have safer policing.  

Do these deaths disproportionately affect African Caribbean men given recent BAME stop and search statistics?

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Professor Leslie Thomas QC was appointed Gresham Professor of Law in 2020. 

He is one of the top rated silks in the country, ranked leading individual by both Chambers and the Legal 500 (2020). He has been a QC since 2014. He was educated at a South London comprehensive and studied law at Kingston University. 

Professor Thomas is a leading expert in claims against the police and other public authorities, and claims against corporate bodies, with expertise across the full spectrum of civil wrongs, civil litigation, human rights, data and privacy claims. He is an expert in all aspects of inquests and public inquiries, having represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been abuse of state or corporate power. 

As well as winning cases, Thomas has won a string of awards for his work and has been called to the Bar in several other international legal jurisdictions. 

Until 31 January 2020, Professor Thomas served as a joint Heads of Chambers at Garden Court Chambers. He is a Bencher to the Inner Temple, where he is also Deputy Master for inclusivity and diversity. He is on the Bar Standards Board, the bar’s regulatory body. He has also served on the management committee of Liberty and the Central London Law Centre. He is also Visiting Professor of Law at Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Thomas's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Race, Colonialism and Power in the Legal System

2020/21 Death, The State and Human Rights


All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Law can be accessed here

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Deborah is the executive director of leading human rights charity INQUEST. She has a long track record of championing social justice and equality issues. She leads INQUEST's strategic policy, legal and parliamentary work and has considerable expertise in working to prevent death and ill treatment in all forms of detention and for more effective accountable learning after state related deaths.  

She has been an independent expert advisor to numerous committees and inquiries and was the special advisor to Dame Elish Angiolini, the chair of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody. She is a regular media commentator, delivers conference papers nationally and internationally and is author of numerous articles and publications. 

Deborah is a member of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody; she is also on the board of trustees of Clean Break Theatre Company and an advisor to Women in Prison.

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Dr Cary has been a Home Office Registered Consultant Forensic Pathologist for 28 years and currently practises as a full-time Consultant Forensic Pathologist within a practice of seven partners. 

His experience includes the full range of general forensic pathology. He has a wide experience of cases of death in custody including during restraint.  He is an Examiner for the Society of Apothecaries and the examination Convener and is also an examiner for the Royal College of Pathologists.

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