We have hitherto welcomed your support for Kye and Nicole Gbangbola, the grieving parents of Zane Gbangbola, who tragically died during the flooding at Chertsey in February 2014. Now, two years on, after many pre-inquest hearings at Woking Coroner’s Court, the inquest has been set to take place over six weeks in June. The Coroner has decided to widen the remit of the inquest to include representation by four public bodies, Spelthorne Borough Council, Ashford and St Peters Hospital NHS Trust, and the Environment Agency.
As you know, Zane’s parents believe that their child was killed by hydrogen cyanide poisoning, conducted by rising flood waters into their home, from an adjacent, old unregulated landfill site. High levels of hydrogen cyanide were detected at their home by the Fire Brigade, on the night of Zane’s death, and Kye and Nicole Gbangbola have been campaigning for the land to be tested and to prevent any future tragedies.
But the Gbangbolas have now been refused their request for legal aid to represent their case by the Legal Aid Agency, a government quango, on the grounds that this inquest does not concern ‘the public interest’. However, the four aforementioned public bodies will be forking out hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money for barristers to represent each one of them. This doesn’t make sense. Meanwhile, Zane’s grieving parents are denied legal aid, and are expected to present their own case concerning the death of their beloved seven year old son.
They have appealed against the Legal Aid Agency’s decision. How can there be no public interest at stake when four public bodies are each employing a barrister to represent themselves at the inquest?
We note that the Shadow Justice Minister Lord Bach has said: ‘The Ministry of Justice should make sure this case is urgently reviewed because Zane’s parents deserve access to justice.’ And Bob Neill, chairman of the Commons Justice Select Committee, has added: ‘It is clear there is a public-safety issue at the center of this tragic case and this decision ought to be looked at again.’
As our local MP, we write to request your assurance that you too will be doing your utmost to support their appeal.
North Surrey Green Party"