A Metropolitan Police officer charged with shooting Black man Chris Kaba will be named when he stands trial for murder, a judge has ruled, after concluding that revealing his identity poses no immediate risk to his life.
Mr Kaba died after he was he was struck by a single bullet through the windscreen of the car he was driving in Streatham Hill, south London, in September 2022.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced in September it was charging a police firearms officer, known as NX121, with murder over the shooting following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
When he first appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, lawyers for the police firearms officer applied for the marksman to remain anonymous.
District Judge Nina Tempia granted an interim order for anonymity, meaning he could not be named or pictured. This was challenged by members of the press.
At the Old Bailey on Monday the Recorder of London Judge Mark Lucraft KC ruled that from 10am on 30 January 2024 the defendant’s name and date of birth will no longer be withheld and can be reported.
However no photograph or image of the defendant will be allowed to be published.
In his ruling, Judge Lucraft said: “I have viewed the raw underlying intelligence material provided to me and have provided the test as to whether there was a ‘real and immediate’ risk to life of NX121 or to his family. In my judgement that very high test is not met.”
He added: “In my judgement whilst there may be risk to NX121 in lifting parts of the anonymity order, those risks are ones that in my judgement can be addressed in various ways so as to seek to ameliorate or mitigate them.”
However he noted that lifting all aspects might give rise to risks to the officer, so ordered that his address will not be given in court. In addition, no photos, drawings or detailed descriptions will be allowed to be published.
The judge also delayed the date he can be named for three months, in order for any “mitigation measures” to be put in place before the defendant’s name and date of birth is revealed.
Responding to the ruling, the Met’s assistant commissioner Matt Twist said: “I recognise that for officers this decision will be hugely concerning, and that the impact of this and recent cases is felt right across armed policing and beyond.
“The Met has supported the anonymity hearing by providing evidence and factual information to His Honour Judge Lucraft KC to assist him in making a decision.
“We take seriously the Open Justice principle, however it was important to make the court aware of the effect that loss of anonymity would have in this case.
“We acknowledge the judgment by the court and note the detailed and careful consideration that has taken place.”
Members of Mr Kaba’s family sat in court as Judge Lucraft made his ruling. Afterwards, they issued a statement thanking the court for “working in the public interest of open justice”.
They said: “We must be allowed to know the name of the man who shot and killed our much loved son, brother and fiance.
“We hope the court will now be allowed to do its job without further disruption or delay.”
The officer has been granted conditional bail. A plea and trial preparation hearing is scheduled for 1 December, with a provisional trial date set for 9 September next year.