At last: Stephen Lawrence murder suspects to stand trial

Friday 20 May 2011 at 7:27 am | In News | Post Comment
Stephen Lawrence

David Norris and Gary Dobson will stand trial at the Old Bailey later this year for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, south-east London in 1993. The murder is the most high-profile unsolved murder in Britain.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday quashed the 1996 acquittal of Gary Dobson and ordered a retrial following an application last October by the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer.

Announcing the decision, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge said: “After conducting a detailed examination of a large body of evidence, we have come to the conclusion that there is sufficient reliable and substantial new evidence to justify the quashing of the acquittal and to order a new trial.”

Dobson and Norris were arrested and charged last September with the murder and remanded in custody. This was not reported for legal reasons.

Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence said: “I am really pleased by the judgment, which has been a long time in coming, but we still have a long way to go.’’

She added: “So, at this moment in time, all I can think about is Stephen and that perhaps somewhere down the line we will finally get justice for him.’’

The Crown Prosecution Service said that it and the Metropolitan Police had worked with forensic scientists to review evidence in the case and a full forensic review had begun in June 2006.

New scientific evidence was found and on that basis the prosecution applied for a retrial.

The CPS said: “Our thoughts at this stage go to Stephen’s family, who have never given up their quest to see justice for Stephen.”

The law was changed in 2005 abolishing the so-called double jeopardy rule which now means that people can be re-tried for the same crime.

The 1999 inquiry into the Metropolitan Police’s original mishandling of the racially motivated murder was a landmark moment for British policing. Sir William Macpherson branded the force “institutionally racist” and recommended sweeping reforms.

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