A judge has authorized a full judicial review of the investigation into Yousef Makki.
The family of the 17-year-old – who was fatally stabbed at Hale Barns in 2019 – have requested a review to overturn the narrative finding recorded by a coroner following a seven-day inquest in November. They described the finding as ‘disgusting’ after South Manchester Senior Coroner Alison Mutch said she could not safely conclude the death was unlawful or accidental.
An application has been made to the High Court by a QC acting for Yousef’s father, Ghaleb Makki. Today (May 18), at the Civil Justice Center in Manchester, the review was granted.
READ MORE: Disturbing images Yousef Makki’s family want all parents to see
Yousef, a talented scholarship student from Burnage’s elite Manchester Grammar School, was fatally stabbed in the heart by his friend Joshua Molnar, a former public schoolboy from a wealthy Hale family, during a confrontation at Hale Barns on March 2 2019.
A jury acquitted Molnar, now 20, of murder and manslaughter later that year, although he was given a 16-month detention and training order after admitting to possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury and lying to police at the scene. He says he acted in self-defense, alleging Yousef pushed and punched him and called him “p*ssy”.
At the High Court hearing today, Matthew Stanbury, representing the Makki family, claimed the coroner’s decision – that what happened could not be known – was ‘inevitable’ because of the inability to analyze and “address” the central issues of the case. . Mr Stanbury said the issues included Molnar’s credibility and his “many lies”, his state of mind at the time of the attack, who was the first to pull out a knife and pathological evidence.
He sought leave for judicial review in the hope of holding a new inquest in due course before the Chief Coroner or a judge. Madam Justice Heather Williams authorized the judicial review and after leaving the courtroom a round of applause broke out from the Makki family and their supporters.
Yousef’s father, Ghaleb Makki, said: “There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a small step in the right direction.”
Mr Stanbury said: ‘Today is a significant step forward and we are optimistic that a new inquiry will be obtained.
Following the November inquest, South Manchester Chief Coroner Ms Mutch recorded a narrative finding, saying: “Yousef died from a stab wound to the chest. The specific circumstances in which he was injured cannot, on a balance of probabilities, be determined.”
The family’s formal application for judicial review, written by Pete Weatherby QC who represented them at the inquest, argued that the coroner’s decision was ‘unreasonable’ as it ‘did not address or draw conclusions about central issues of the case so as to enable him to reach a conclusion – on a balance of probabilities – as to the legality of the murder”.
The QC said the coroner ‘did not address or offer any analysis’ on Joshua Molnar’s credibility, his state of mind at the time of the stabbing or whether he produced a knife in front of Yousef, or whether Yousef had drawn a knife at all. The date and location of the judicial review have yet to be determined.
Molnar’s co-defendant in the 2019 trial, Adam Chowdhary, also 17 at the time but now 19, of Hale Barns, who described Yousef as his ‘best friend’ at MGS, was acquitted of perverting the course of justice. He received a four-month detention order after admitting possession of a knife, one of two he said he and Yousef had jointly ordered during a break from classes at MGS.
Read more about today’s top stories here