Leslie Thomas graduated in 1988.
The whole world will be watching the Mark Duggan inquiry verdict, according to the former Kingston University student who is representing his family.
Leslie Thomas, who graduated in 1988, is representing the Duggan family at the inquiry into his shooting by police officers on August 4 2011.
“I was on holiday in Turkey when the solicitor rang me to instruct me about Mark Duggan,” said Dr Thomas.
“I put the television on Euronews and saw wall to wall footage of London burning. It was chilling and when I found out what the trigger was, I had to get involved.”
Dr Thomas, 48, was named Legal Aid Barrister of the year in 2012 and says his experience of growing up in the 1980s surrounded by so much change shaped his world view.
“I was 16 in 1981 when the Brixton riots happened, and then going into my student days we had the miners’ strike and the worst days of the apartheid struggle,” he said.
“Just as I was coming to the end of my time at Kingston there was the break-up of Eastern Europe – all these things really affected me.”
Speaking after receiving an honorary doctorate from his alma mater last week, Dr Thomas said his rise to prominence was down to determination. At school a careers officer advised him to aim for a job in Tesco or to work as a mechanic.
“I’m really touched to receive this degree. Kingston was a special place because it always had a great tradition in civil rights and human rights law and the knowledge passed on to me by lecturers such as Chris Clarkson and Professor Penny Darbyshire has really stayed with me,” he said.
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