Tunisia inquests: Coroner indicates he will not make neglect verdict against Tui

Tunisia inquests: Coroner indicates he will not make neglect verdict against Tui

A coroner hearing evidence relating to the deaths of 30 Britons in a terrorist attack in Tunisia has indicated he will not draw a conclusion of neglect against tour operator Tui.

Families of the victims killed by lone gunman Seifeddine Rezgui in asked for a ruliung of neglect during the final submissions in the hearings at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Rezgui opened fire on the beach in the resort of Sousse in June 2015, killing 38 people in an attack that continued into the then Tui-run five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel.

Tui’s legal representative Howard Stevens QC said there is no clear link between neglect and the killings.

But Andrew Ritchie QC, representing families in the case, told the coroner: “Tui’s utter complacency in the face of the risk posed to its customers in Tunisia and its abrogation of responsibility for security was the very essence of neglect”.

He added that there was no prior case in law that sets a precedent.

Samantha Leek QC, presenting the evidence to her majesty’s coroner, argued that the only conclusion the coroner can return in relation to all of those killed is unlawful killing and does not agree with incorporating “neglect” in the conclusion, which is due on Tuesday.

Speaking to the coroner, she said: “Determining whether a conclusion incorporating neglect can be returned you must consider whether it can be said that any of the provisions contended for by counsel for the families would probably, rather than might possibly, have made a difference.”

Coroner Judge Loraine-Smith will consider whether the British victims were in a position of dependency, if there was gross neglect, and if that gross neglect contributed to their deaths.

But he indicated that he would reject the claim of neglect in his final conclusion.

He told Mr Ritchie:  “I am not with you on your submissions. I didn’t want to leave it hanging in the air if I had come to a conclusion, albeit I haven’t yet formulated any reasons as such.”

This story was updated on Friday February 24 to reflect the full transcript of the hearing when it was released.

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