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By Jennifer Quinn
The Associated Press
LONDON — A jury on Tuesday retraced the steps of a Brazilian man who was killed by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber. The visit included a stop at the London Underground station where Jean Charles de Menezes was shot seven times in the head as he sat on a subway train.
The second day of the inquest into the death of de Menezes was set aside for the jurors to leave the courtroom and travel to the sites that figured in the July 22, 2005, death of the 27-year-old electrician.
De Menezes, a Brazilian who was working in London, was mistaken by police for a suspect in an attempted bombing of London's transit system on July 21. Tensions were high in the capital because two weeks earlier four suicide bombers had attacked the city's transit system and killed 52 people.
A convoy of buses first took the entire court - including members of de Menezes' family, lawyers, and other officials - to Stockwell station in south London. The jurors entered the station through a side door and were taken to platform two, where on a stopped subway train de Menezes was shot seven times in the head.
The normally busy subway station was closed for the 10 minute visit by the jurors, who stood silently for about for 30 seconds on the empty platform. As they stood there, a Northern Line train pulled slowly through the station without stopping.
Jurors also visited the south London neighborhood where de Menezes had an apartment in the same building as Hussain Osman, the subway bombing suspect police were hunting. Osman was later convicted of the failed July 21 attack and is serving a life sentence.
After they looked at the outside of the building, the jurors were driven at walking pace to the bus stop de Menezes used as he traveled from his home to Stockwell station.
There was no testimony scheduled for Tuesday; the inquest's first witness is to be called Wednesday. Dozens of people are expected to testify in the inquest, which could last as long as three months. It will likely be the most detailed public examination of the events leading up to de Menezes' death.
No individual has been charged in de Menezes' death; prosecutors decided in 2006 that they would not seek criminal charges against the officers involved, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission said the officers would not face disciplinary action on the force.
A British court did convict the police force last year of health and safety charges for endangering the public's safety during the shooting.
An inquest, different from a trial, is required by British law when someone dies unexpectedly, violently or of unknown causes. The inquest is supposed to provide more information about de Menezes' death than would otherwise be revealed publicly.
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