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Kumbe ni tafauti na tunayosimuliwa

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Sonara, May 19, 2011.

  1. Sonara

    Sonara JF-Expert Member

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    May 19, 2011
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    For 18 years, Stephen Lawrence's parents have been denied justice for their murdered son. Yesterday, they were given hope




    [​IMG] Justice at last? Stephen Lawrence, 18, was attacked in a race-hate killing as he waited at a bus stop 18 years ago

    For 18 years they have clung desperately to the hope that they would one day gain justice for their son.
    Yesterday that possibility inched closer for the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence when they learned that two men will stand trial for their son’s race-hate killing.
    Neville and Doreen Lawrence spoke of their joy after the Court of Appeal revealed a dramatic forensic breakthrough.
    The discovery of ‘sufficient reliable and substantial new evidence’ means Gary Dobson, 35, and David Norris, 34, will be prosecuted over Stephen’s murder in 1993.
    It is alleged that scientific evidence relating to a grey bomber jacket and a multi-coloured cardigan ‘closely links’ Dobson to the crime.
    Mr Lawrence, 68, said: ‘I’ve waited 18 years for something to happen. I don’t think I would have been able to go on had the verdict gone the other way so I’m pleased and delighted and looking forward to the next six months.
    ‘When the judgment was read out, my heart missed a beat. It was as though I had dived into the sea and had been forced to hold my breath until my lungs were bursting, and then – when the decision came – I could come up for air. Now I look forward to seeing justice at last. It has been a very long road.’
    Mrs Lawrence, 58, was close to tears as she added: ‘All I can think about is Stephen and that perhaps somewhere down the line we will finally get justice for him.’
    Their son, an A-level student, was described in court as a ‘young black man of great promise’ who was ‘targeted and killed by a group of white youths just because of the colour of his skin’.
    Dobson and Norris are alleged to have been among a group of white youths who stabbed 18-year-old Stephen to death at a bus stop in Eltham, South East London. They were arrested over the murder last September, but for legal reasons the extraordinary development could not be reported until yesterday.

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    United for justice: Neville Lawrence and his ex-wife Doreen have battled for 18 years to gain justice for their son and have told of their elation at the decision to try Dobson and Norris

    The ban was challenged by a number of media organisations, including the Daily Mail. And in a victory for press freedom, reporting restrictions were lifted as three Court of Appeal judges ruled that Dobson should stand trial despite being previously acquitted of the murder in 1996, when Stephen’s family brought a private prosecution.
    New proceedings are allowed against Dobson under changes to double-jeopardy rules which now allow for a fresh trial in the case of ‘new and compelling’ evidence.
    Co-defendant Norris was not a suspect in the 1996 trial and is not being prosecuted under the double jeopardy laws, which were introduced in 2005. The new trial, expected to last a month, is due to start at the Old Bailey on November 14.
    Norris, wearing a dark suit and open-necked shirt, was at the Court of Appeal and showed no emotion as the ruling was given. For reasons not made clear, Dobson was not present. New photographs of the pair were also issued.


    [​IMG] Charged: Gary Dobson, left, and David Norris will face trial in November for the murder of the London teenager


    Outside London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Neville Lawrence said he was happy that new charges had been brought over his son’s murder. He said: ‘I am pleased now. I can relax. I was so tense last night.’
    Mrs Lawrence added: ‘I am really pleased by the judgment, which has been a long time in coming, but we still have a long way to go.’
    'IF RELIABLE, IT PLACES DOBSON AT THE SCENE'



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    Gary Dobson’s previous acquittal was quashed after the discovery of ‘new scientific evidence’ on his grey bomber jacket and a multi-coloured cardigan which, say prosecutors, ‘closely links’ him to Stephen’s murder.
    According to the Appeal Court judges, the evidence ‘does not and could not demonstrate that Dobson wielded the knife which caused the fatal wound’.
    ‘But,’ they add, ‘given the circumstances of the attack on Stephen Lawrence, that is, a group of youths in a violent enterprise converging on a young man, and attacking him as a group, it would be open to a jury to conclude that any one of those who participated in the attack was party to the killing and guilty of murder, or alternatively manslaughter.
    ‘If reliable, the new scientific evidence would place Dobson in very close proximity indeed to Stephen Lawrence at the moment of and in the immediate aftermath of the attack, proximity, moreover, for which no innocent explanation can be discerned.’
    Details of the new evidence are revealed in the judges’ public statement explaining why they quashed Dobson’s acquittal and ordered he face a new trial. Some reporting restrictions remain in place.
    The judgment reveals that at a hearing before yesterday’s ruling, Dobson’s barrister, Timothy Roberts QC, submitted that the new evidence is ‘unreliable and of no sufficient probative value’.
    Mr Roberts alleged that the results of the new examination of Dobson’s clothing are likely to be ‘the product of contamination over the years, that is, by contact with Stephen Lawrence’s blood and his clothing’.
    The defence QC also argued that even if the scientific evidence is reliable, the ‘apparent links are unconnected with Dobson’s presence and involvement at the scene, but rather the result of outdated or incompetent storage or packaging or transporting arrangements’.


    In their judgment, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Holroyde, gave a chilling account of Stephen’s murder.
    It recalled how he was waiting ‘peacefully’ for a bus with his friend, also 18, Duwayne Brooks. The pair were attacked by a ‘group of white youths’ and, the judgement went on, ‘one of the youths used abusive racist language’.
    Stephen was stabbed fatally twice to the upper torso. He died shortly afterwards in hospital.
    Mr and Mrs Lawrence’s parents brought a private prosecution in the case and in April 1996, Dobson, Luke Knight and Neil Acourt were tried for murder at Old Bailey.
    But following a judge’s ruling that purported identification evidence was not admissible, there was insufficient further evidence to justify the continuation of the prosecution. The jury was directed to acquit.
    Discussing the new scientific evidence, the judges said that, if reliable, it ‘would place Dobson in very close proximity indeed to Stephen Lawrence at the moment of and in the immediate aftermath of the attack, proximity, moreover, for which no innocent explanation can be discerned.’
    At a hearing last month, Timothy Roberts QC, for Dobson, had argued that the evidence was ‘unreliable and of no sufficient probative value’. But the judges said there was ‘sufficient reliable and substantial new evidence to justify the quashing of the acquittal and to order a new trial’. They added however that the decision simply meant Dobson’s alleged involvement ‘must be considered afresh by a new jury’.
    ‘The presumption of innocence continues to apply,’ they stated.
    And they rejected claims by defence lawyers that Dobson and Norris could not get a fair trial because of previous publicity about the case. The judges said no application to quash the acquittals of Neil Acourt and Luke Knight were before the court.
    Among those in court to hear the ruling was Met Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, the officer in overall charge of the Lawrence murder investigation. In a joint statement, Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘Our thoughts at this stage go to Stephen’s family, who have never given up their quest to see justice for Stephen.’
    The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust said: ‘The Lawrence family – who have done so much to improve the lives of others in Stephen’s name – have never given up their struggle for social justice and we hope that the new trial will bring peace to this much-respected family.’




    How the judges explained their momentous decision

    In a landmark judgment, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge yesterday said that Gary Dobson and David Norris would stand trial for the killing of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago. The judgment centred on Dobson, who was originally tried and acquitted for the crime in 1996. Lord Judge quashed this decision – paving the way for the new trial. Here, Home Affairs Editor JAMES SLACK highlights the key passages from the court papers, which consider the Crown Prosecution Service’s request for a retrial of Dobson before concluding that – in the interests of justice – this must take place.
    THE CRIME

    [​IMG] Scene: The bus stop in South London where the teenager was attacked as he waited with his friend Duwayne Brooks on April 22, 1993

    ‘On April 22 1993 just after 10.35 in the evening, Stephen Lawrence, then 18, was waiting at a bus stop at Eltham with a close friend of the same age, Duwayne Brooks. As they waited peacefully for the bus, a group of white youths crossed the road towards them. One of the youths used abusive racist language. This was followed by a sudden and immediate attack, as the group converged on or charged at them. Duwayne managed to escape but Stephen was felled. He was stabbed twice. Mortally wounded, Stephen managed to get to his feet. He ran after Duwayne but after a little while, he collapsed on the pavement. He died shortly afterwards in hospital.’
    THE HUMAN TRAGEDY
    ‘The murder of Stephen Lawrence, a young black man of great promise, targeted and killed by a group of white youths just because of the colour of his skin was indeed a calamitous crime.’
    THE FAILED PROSECUTION
    ‘Stephen Lawrence’s parents began a private prosecution and, in April 1996, Gary Dobson, Luke Knight and Neil Acourt were tried for murder at the Central Criminal Court. The jury was directed to acquit the defendants.’

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    Acquitted: Dobson, Luke Knight and Neil Acourt were all tried in a private prosecution in 1996 but the jury was directed to find them not guilty

    THE NEW LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

    ‘This is an application by the prosecution for the acquittal of Gary Dobson to be quashed and for a retrial to be ordered under section 76 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (double jeopardy). No application to quash the acquittals of Neil Acourt and Luke Knight is before the court, but another suspect, who was not a defendant at the earlier trial, David Norris, was arrested in September 2010 and charged with murder. His trial will take place at the Central Criminal Court in November. If the acquittal of Gary Dobson is quashed and a retrial ordered, the prosecution propose that he and David Norris will be tried together.’
    THE DOUBLE JEOPARDY RULES
    The judgment explains how, until the 2003 Act, a person could not be prosecuted twice for the same offence. It then sets out the circumstances where, under the new rules, a second trial can be held. It highlights how the new evidence must be ‘new and compelling’. It then states: ‘Evidence is compelling if a) it is reliable, b) it is substantial, and c) in the context of the outstanding issues, it appears highly probative of the case against the acquitted person.’ It goes on: ‘It does not mean that the evidence must be irresistible, or that absolute proof of guilt is required. In other words, the court should not and is certainly not required to usurp the function of the jury, or, if a new trial is ordered, to indicate to the jury what the verdict should be.’
    THE VERDICT
    ‘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. This decision means, and we emphasise that it means no more than that, the question whether Dobson had any criminal involvement in Stephen Lawrence’s death must be considered afresh by a new jury which will examine the evidence and decide whether the allegation against him is proved. The presumption of innocence continues to apply.’
    I'm elated but we've got a long way to go

    By DAVID JONES
    [​IMG] One purpose in life: Neville Lawrence has fought a gamut of emotions every day for the last 18 years to try to see justice done for his son Stephen

    Ever since that grim spring night when he was summoned to hospital to be told that his son had been savagely cut down, Neville Lawrence has had only one purpose left in life: to see justice done.
    During those long years he has run the gamut of emotions. His all-consuming grief has been tempered by periods of hope only to be replaced, time and again, by crashing despair as the justice system failed his family.
    On Tuesday night, however, as he prepared to hear the High Court’s landmark ruling, Mr Lawrence’s torment was almost unbearable, for he knew his last hopes rested on the judges’ decision.

    ‘Last night I woke up three times, at 2am, 4am and 5am – I just couldn’t sleep,’ he told me in an exclusive interview yesterday. ‘It was all so nerve-racking that I sort of had pins and needles all over.
    ‘When the judgment was read out, my heart missed a beat. It was as though I had dived into the sea and had been forced to hold my breath until my lungs were bursting, and then – when the decision came – I could come up for air.’
    As a result of the terrible strain of the case, Mr Lawrence, 68, was divorced from his wife, Doreen, and returned to live in Jamaica, close to the family plot where Stephen was buried.
    ‘We didn’t hug or kiss – that isn’t how we are. But now I can say that I’m over the moon and elated, and though it has been 18 years it has been worth it.


    Each summer, overcoming his flying phobia, he returns to London to see his surviving children, Stuart, 34, and Georgina, 29, and his three infant grandchildren.

    He also gives motivational talks to schools and helps to serve as a mentor to teenagers, encouraging them to live useful lives and fulfil their potential. Usually he arrives in early June but this year, knowing the case had reached a critical stage, he arrived three months early.
    Happily, he and Mrs Lawrence have reconciled their differences, and – fittingly, since both have campaigned so long and hard on Stephen’s behalf – they were sitting beside one another in court yesterday. Stuart was also there, but his sister stayed at home to care for her baby son.
    ‘Before the hearing I couldn’t sit still,’ says Mr Lawrence. ‘The waiting was terrible. Afterwards we were taken to a room they provided for us, and everybody was just so dazed, we didn’t know how to react.
    ‘We didn’t hug or kiss – that isn’t how we are. But now I can say that I’m over the moon and elated, and though it has been 18 years it has been worth it.

    [​IMG] Long fight: Neville and Doreen Lawrence sit in front of a banner in 1999 after a report into the Metropolitan Police investigation was published

    ‘Although we have a long way to go, at least we know we are on the way to somewhere now.
    ‘It has been two years since I found out that there was to be a new investigation and, because of all that has gone on before, I didn’t think we would get to where we are today.
    ‘But I am pleased that everybody seems to be putting their best foot forward and working very hard, and I’m grateful for what they have done so far. It has been a very long road.’
    It has indeed, and doubtless there will be more twists. But we must hope it will lead the Lawrence family to the peace of mind they surely deserve.

     
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