Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Menezes picture 'was manipulated'

A composite image of Hussain Osman and Jean Charles de Menezes
The defence said the image was to show identification problems

Police have been accused of manipulating a photo of Jean Charles de
Menezes so it could be compared to that of one of the 21/7 bomb

The image had been "stretched and sized" to form a
composite image of the Brazilian and Hussain Osman to show the jury,
prosecutors told the Old Bailey.

Mr de Menezes was shot dead after being wrongly identified as one of the men who targeted London's transport system.

The Metropolitan Police denies breaking health and safety laws.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head on a
train at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, after being wrongly
identified as Osman.

The Met Police said the composite picture was created to
illustrate the difficulties officers would have had in differentiating
the two men.

'Serious allegation'

But Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the court it
had been altered "by either stretching or resizing so the face ceases
to have its correct proportions".

The judge, Mr Justice Henriques, told the jury: "A
serious allegation has been made that a picture has been manipulated so
as to mislead."

Making the image brighter has changed the image

Michael George, forensics consultant

Forensics consultant Michael George told the court that
the police composite appeared to have a "greater definition" than the
two images used to produce it.

He produced an alternative composite, shown to the jury,
in which the two faces have different skin tones and their mouths and
noses are not aligned.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked Mr George whether there had been any manipulation "of the primary features of the face".

Mr George replied: "I don't believe there has been any... but making the image brighter has changed the image."

The court heard the composite was compiled using a 2001
identity card photograph of Mr de Menezes and a photo of Osman taken by
police in Rome, where he was arrested.

Immigration records

Earlier, Mr Thwaites cross-examined immigration official
Paul Roach over a counterfeit stamp found in the Brazilian's passport,
asking if this meant he had been in the country illegally.

Mr Roach told the court Mr de Menezes first entered the
country on 13 March 2002 and was given six months' leave to remain,
before extending his stay, as a student, to 30 June 2003.

The next record was of him arriving in Ireland from
France on 23 April 2005 but there was no notification of when he
returned to the UK.

The court heard how as a person entering Britain from
Ireland, he would have had an automatic three-month leave to remain
which at the earliest would have run out on 23 July, the day after he
was killed.

A counterfeit stamp found on his passport may only have been added after he entered the UK, Mr Roach said.

The trial continues.

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