How Restorative Justice could be used for Mina Smallman and the police officer who photographed her daughters

Published: Friday, January 7th, 2022


This is a blog by our Restorative Justice Coordinator Mark Smith and Communications Intern Keeva Baxter.

 

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman

This is an interview with our Restorative Justice Coordinator Mark Smith, who runs the Why me? Restorative Justice service, in response to Mina Smallman’s desire to speak to the police officer who took pictures of her daughters’ crime scene.

 

Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were killed by Danyel Hussein in a park in 2020. The two sisters had been celebrating Bibaa’s birthday in Wembley when they were stabbed. 

In December, two police officers were sentenced to 33 months each in prison for taking and sharing photographs of the crime scene they had been sent to guard. Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis were charged with misconduct in a public office for sharing pictures of the bodies of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman with numerous people both within and outside of the police force. 

Mina Smallman, the mother of Bibaa and Nicole, has now spoken out saying that she wants to meet one of the police officers responsible. 

“I’m repulsed by them if I’m honest, and can’t wait to meet Jaffer”

“He said he would like to meet with the family and I don’t believe he thought that that could happen but it will, because he said he wanted it to happen and I’m going to give him that invitation.”

What do you think of the use of Restorative Justice in this case?

Restorative Justice can be explored for any type of case and this case is no different. It would be suitable in this instance if all participants are willing to take part and it is deemed safe to do so. 

What benefits could the use of Restorative Justice bring?

For Mina Smallman, it would allow her to share her feelings and emotions following the actions of the police officers in a way that the judicial process may not have allowed for. It would also provide an independent, non-judgmental platform for her to share her views on their actions and other issues she feels passionate about, such as the culture within the police and the racial disparities within the Criminal Justice System. 

For Deniz Jaffer, it would give him an opportunity to explain his actions and the effect that they had. The officers have said that they are “sorry beyond measure for the pain that they have caused” and the meeting could be an opportunity for Jaffer to express that remorse directly to the person he harmed. 

If you could talk to Mina Smallman what would you say?

Firstly I would say that I am extremely sorry for her loss. It is dreadful that she lost two daughters in this way and the hurt has been made greater by the actions of the two police officers that should have been there to support them. As a retired police officer myself, the actions of the officers are beyond belief and the damage that they have caused is enormous. It is right for Mina to challenge the culture that enables such things to take place, and her campaigns will bring about a wider conversation about what is and is not appropriate behaviour within the police. I would also discuss Restorative Justice with Mina and explore what she would like to see happen in the conference. Restorative Justice facilitators are neutral and will help Mina to think about what she wants to get out of the process.

Is Restorative Justice still appropriate if it was the person who committed the offence that first raises the possibility of meeting?

It is unclear from the information that has been made public whether a formal request for a Restorative Justice process has been made. However, it is the responsibility of a Restorative Justice service to determine whether all participants are willing to take part. Restorative Justice would still be suitable as long as it is safe and all parties consent. Yes, Restorative Justice can still be appropriate if it is first raised by the person who has committed the crime. 

Who could use Restorative Justice in this case?

Restorative Justice could be considered for anyone that has been harmed in this situation. This can apply to Mina Smallman and the police officers who committed the offence, or could apply more broadly, for example to the people who were shown the photos or wider family and friends. 

Are there any significant risks of using Restorative Justice in this case?

There is the potential for an emotional risk to the participants as the case is so emotive and is in the public eye. However, if the facilitators are satisfied that the participants are supported throughout the process it can still be safe to go ahead. 

What would you say to other people in a similar situation?

Restorative Justice is something that should be considered where harm has been caused and is an opportunity to get questions answered, repair some of the harm that has been caused and move forward. If you feel that it may be right for you, you should explore it. 

 

If you are interested in Restorative Justice or would like to discuss it with someone at Why me?, please contact us at info@why-me.org. Click the link to find out more about what Restorative Justice is or visit our FAQ page for more information. 

 

You will have a Restorative Justice provider linked to your local police, you can use our map below to find them.

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