Runnymede, Surrey, 25 April 2016: Supporters gathered on Saturday at Runnymede for a demonstration of support for the Truth About Zane. Parents of 7-year-old Zane, who tragically died at his home during the disastrous flooding in Chertsey on February 2014, have been denied legal aid at their son’s inquest. During a six-week period at Woking Coroners Court, due to start on the 13th June, they have been denied funding for legal representation on the grounds that this case does not touch the public interest. The campaign for the Truth About Zane has called upon the Prime Minister to review Legal Aid so they can participate in their son’s inquest.
The other interested parties in the inquest (mostly public bodies), have employed six of the
UK's top QCs. They and their legal teams are funded at the public’s expense. Even the Coroner, Richard Travers, has taken the unprecedented step of covering himself by having legal representation. Writing to the family, he stated: “It is a measure of the complexity and of the exceptional nature of this inquest that I have taken the decision to instruct counsel to the Inquest to assist me.” He goes on to say, “I consider it unlikely that an unrepresented family would be able to participate effectively in these inquest proceedings. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the court would be better assisted, if the family were to be represented.”
In the absence of support from Legal Aid, the family are faced with asking for donations to raise £70,000 before June, so they might participate in their own child’s inquest. The family have been struck by the public’s concern in this case and their shared desire to find the truth about how Zane died and to protect the wider public from the known risks of flooding and
landfill around the UK. In the face of this social injustice, it has become clear that the public want to speak out and be Zane’s voice.