CONTROVERSIAL DEATH: Smiley Culture
SMILEY CULTURE’S nephew Merlin Emmanuel has welcomed news that a court has thrown out a drug smuggling case involving the late reggae singer.
A judge at Croydon Crown Court in Surrey dismissed the case on Nov 2.
Emmanuel told The Voice earlier today (Nov 8): “He was not an angel. I can say that without a doubt but certainly to summarise Smiley as nothing other than some petty drug dealer is highly offensive and untrue.”
The singer, whose real name was David Emmanuel, died under controversial circumstances during a police raid at his home on March 15 last year.
The Met police said officers had come to Smiley’s home to arrest him on suspicion of drug smuggling. They claimed he had gone into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife.
Smiley’s family members have long rejected claims the Cockney Translation icon killed himself as well as claims he was a drug dealer.
Emmanuel said fresh questions need to be raised over the circumstances in which the singer died, now that the case has been dismissed.
“The question is now, if he wasn’t doing what they said he was, why would he act in that erratic, crazy, psyched out way and take his life when 15 minutes before he was fine and he had nothing to worry about?” Emmanuel asked.
Three other defendants were also facing charges of conspiracy to smuggle drugs from Barbados to the UK, which was linked to the case.
A court spokesperson told The Voice the judge ended the case and released the remaining three defendants when “the prosecution offered no evidence”.
MARCH FOR JUSTICE: Merlin Emmanuel (centre) and other death in custody family members and supporters march through London calling for action last April. Pic:PA
Emmanuel said the family has been left “fatigued” and “traumatised” by what happened.
He said: “The whole family was on hold. All Smiley’s funds and income have been held which is obviously funds for the children to live from the hard work he’d done. All of these were held back on a whim.”
He also said the family is considering suing newspapers that he said wrongly claimed the reggae singer was a drug dealer.
Emmanuel said: “We can’t bring Smiley back but what we are trying to do is to protect his legacy…
“…Those tabloids that actually smeared Smiley without saying allegedly- we will be visiting them soon because they will answer for that. It was disgusting journalism by a big pack of papers (and) that was just basically reported before we were informed by the police...”
Emmanuel continued: “We are going to look for justice because they have to right the wrongs. They told untruths and they need to penalised for that. It’s not for financial gain. It’s for Smiley and the other people who have been besmirched by their poor journalism. Their names and their rep(reputation).”
He said the family could also sue police over what has happened - once the upcoming coroners trial by jury is held.
Emmanuel, who said he is continuing Smiley’s positive legacy by setting up the growing Soul Child radio and television, continued: “We’ll wait until the coroners trial by jury and then we’ll see where we stand because we’ll have a better overview as to what our options are at that point.
"I am not sure of the date at this point but in the New Year, we’ll do the coroners and then see what turns up there.”