The Independent Police Complaints Commission will continue its investigation into the death of Leon Briggs as there is ‘reasonable suspicion that criminal offences may have been committed’, the Luton News can reveal.
Father-of-two Mr Briggs, 39, of Ashburnham Road, Luton, was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act on November 4 last year and later died in hospital after falling ill at Luton police station.
At the second pre-inquest hearing into Mr Briggs’ death, held in Hatfield today, IPCC senior investigator Emma Maloney revealed that the watchdog had now received a post mortem report which has been assessed.
Due to ‘reasonable suspicion that criminal offences may have been committed’ the IPCC is continuing its investigation.
The case may then be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service if it meets the required threshold.
Hertfordshire senior coroner Edward Thomas indicated that should the CPS press any charges the inquest would be suspended until a later date, though a death certifcate would still be issued.
Barrister Adam Straw told the hearing that delays in the IPCC investigation had caused ‘anguish’ for Mr Briggs’ family.
He said: “There are a number of pressing reasons why the IPCC should act quickly...it risks devaluing the witness accounts.
“We do not want to let this slip.”
Mr Thomas scheduled the next pre-inquest hearing for March 11, adding that an expert on section 136 of the Mental Health Act may be later be called as a witness.