Last month the world was brought to a halt upon the knowledge that bombs were going off in the densely populated Manchester City after a massive Ariana Grande concert attended by well over 20,000 people, most of which were women and children. Recent news has come out that concert security was lax at best; many concertgoers report that security scantily looked through concertgoer’s belongings and failed to even have basic metal detectors at the entrances. As such, many people around the United Kingdom and world alike are clamoring about the poor security and liability of the festival promoters.
On May 22, 2017, minutes after Ariana Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena finished, a bomb exploded near one of the exits as people were leaving the venue. The tragedy left 22 dead and over 100 injured from a homemade bomb that consisted of bolts and nuts, made by 22-year-old terrorist Salman Abedi. The lax security allowed Abedi to get into the foyer of the building and detonate the bomb in a heavily trafficked ‘security soft spot’ where concertgoers were heading towards the exit, and near where parents were waiting to pick up their children. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, and eleven people are currently in police custody with ties to the attack.
The U.K. was hit with the biggest terror attack since the 7/7 bombings.
As this tragic event took place in the UK it is more difficult to analyze it under U.S. law, but the bomber could potentially be found guilty of negligent manslaughter: Homicide that is committed without the intent to kill, but with criminal recklessness or negligence; or a death that results during the commission of or flight from a misdemeanor or felony that is not encompassed by the felony-murder rule. In addition, the U.K. Terrorism Act lays out what the government is and is not allowed to do in such cases of terrorism, and how best to proceed. The seventeen people who have been arrested were allowed so by the Terrorism Act, and the eleven people still in custody, remain on charges of terrorism and can stay in custody for up to 28 days without being charged. For the owners of Manchester Arena and those in charge of security, cases of negligence may be faced as well. They knowingly let people into the venue without conducting thorough bag checks, allowing multiple opportunities for unsafe actions to occur. For example, a club in Rhode Island caught fire in 2003, killing 100 people. The club owners were charged with gross negligence for failing to maintain the club in the proper way needed to keep its occupants safe. As such, if the event were in fact held in USA, the event promoters could potentially found guilty of gross negligence and manslaughter because they knowingly lacked proper security and safety for the occupants.
The United Kingdom will never be the same after the attack, and hopefully change will lead to better safety in safer in the future. Although no new changes have been implemented yet and the UK security threat has been raised to critical, a possibility for the future is increased security at venues such as Manchester Arena. As security was lax before the bombing, expect more caution at future events by checking bags thoroughly, adding metal detectors, and taking reports on suspicious people more seriously. Since the bombing, Operation Temperer was put in place, allowing up to 5,000 soldiers to reinforce armed police around the country. The Terrorism Act 2000 and a number of acts following are currently guiding the government’s actions. An emergency COBRA meeting was held after the bombing in order to coordinate what actions to take next. Thus far, along with increased security, the government has cracked down on the network of people associated with the bomber, such as his brother and members of the community. This event also shows that although the U.K. has extremely strict gun laws in place, major terrorist activities can still occur. Further, even with new, stricter security in and at the perimeter of venues, there still stands the possibility of terror attacks just outside the perimeter in places such as parking lots and public areas that people pass through upon exiting. In the U.S., the government has stated that there are no threats to U.S. concert venues at this time, and although metal detectors and such expensive screening devices are mandatory for larger venues such as arenas and stadiums, they are not for smaller venues.
The Terrorism Act 2000 sets the precedent for how the government will move forward.
This attack on innocent people will most likely inspire change to create safer situations for UK residents. As Prime Minister Theresa May stated after the attacks, “we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence, and if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack to seek them out and bring them to justice.” The U.K. government is doing everything in their power to not only bring justice to those affected by the attacks, but to keep the U.K. safer and thwart any future threats to the historic and resilient country.
-Ashley Roshanzamir and Kevin Lipton, ESQ.
Lipton Legal Group, A PC – Beverly Hills, CA