High Court dismisses Shukri Abdi family bid to overturn ‘accidental death’ verdict

Shukri Abdi

A High Court judge has dismissed a request for a judicial review into a coroner’s conclusion that the drowning of 12-year-old Shukri Abdi was accidental.

Shukri died after getting into difficulties in the River Irwell in Bury in June 2019.

In a ruling in December 2020, Coroner Joanne Kearsley found that another girl who was with her in the River Irwell when she drowned (“Child One”) had no intention to harm her.

But last month Shukri’s family went to the High Court in Manchester to challenge the conclusion, claiming it was a flawed verdict because the coroner only allowed evidence from the day of the tragedy.

They said she ruled out evidence about alleged bullying Shukri had suffered previously by the children who were with her when she went into the water.

But, according to the Manchester Evening News, last week a senior High Court judge dismissed the application for a judicial review, concluding: “I have been unable to find any arguable ground for judicial review having any realistic prospect of success.”

At the time of her death Shukri was with four other children. The 2020 inquest heard how Child One encouraged Shukri to go into the water despite knowing she couldn’t swim.

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Child One told Shukri she would look after her and would teach her to swim. Coroner Joanne Kearsley ruled that meant Child One had a duty of care to Shukri and breached that duty because she should have been able to foresee the risk of drowning.

But that breach, Ms Kearsley said, wasn’t serious enough to warrant a conclusion of gross negligence manslaughter.

Mr Justice Fordham, in his ruling, said: “I have been unable to find in this case any arguable ground for judicial review having a realistic prospect of success. I have been shown no aspect of the process, reasoning or conclusions which, in my judgment – whether individually or cumulatively with other features of the case – entails any arguable vitiating flaw in public law terms.”

He concluded: “Since – for the reasons I have given – I have been unable to find any arguable ground for judicial review having any realistic prospect of success, I refuse the renewed application for permission for judicial review.”

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