Sunyana Sharma represents Devon and Cornwall Police at jury inquest into ABD death

21st December 2023

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3PB Barristers’ (3 Paper Buildings) specialist inquest barrister Sunyana SharmaSunyana SharmaCall: 2006 (pictured here) has represented Devon and Cornwall Police at the recent jury inquest into the death of a young man whilst detained by police.

The inquest in question concerned the death of Jota Smith, who had exhibited extreme signs of acute behavioural disturbance (“ABD”), caused by the effects of a four-day cocaine binge. The suspect was restrained for his own safety and to protect those around him, however he contained to struggle despite efforts to calm and reassure him. The combined effect of the cocaine and the ABD along with his prolonged physical struggle against restraint sadly led to Mr Smith’s death.

The jury heard evidence that the officers involved had acted in a professional manner, had taken steps to ensure that Mr Smith’s airway was maintained throughout and had identified ABD at the earliest opportunity.  The family also expressed thanks to officers and the ambulance service for the efforts they had made to help Mr Smith.  An expert in ABD confirmed that this was a rare case of extreme ABD.

The case was reported in the local press.

Sunyana Sharma is a regulatory and inquest barrister, practicing in professional disciplinary work, maritime and fishing law, health and safety law and all areas of regulatory compliance and consumer protection. Sunyana sits as an Assistant Coroner for Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth and as a Deputy District Judge in Civil and Family law.

To instruct Sunyana, please contact Practice Director David Snook via email or telephone 020 7583 8055.