originally published by: BBC News
18th May 2011
Two men are to stand trial for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson, 35, and David Norris, 34, are accused of killing the black teenager at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, on 22 April 1993. Nobody has been convicted of the crime but a small team of Scotland Yard detectives has continued to investigate the 18-year-old’s death.
Mr Dobson stood trial in 1996 over the murder – which he denied – and he was acquitted. On Wednesday the Court of Appeal concluded that there was enough new and substantial evidence to allow Dobson’s acquittal to be quashed.
The inquiry into the failure of the original police investigation to find and convict Mr Lawrence’s killers, which reported in 1999, became a key moment in the modern history of criminal justice in Britain.
Concluding the force was “institutionally racist”, it made 70 recommendations and had an enormous impact on the race relations debate, from criminal justice through to all public authorities.
The latest judgment was set out by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Holroyde.
They said: “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.”
Mr Dobson and Mr Norris were arrested last September over the murder and are in custody. The allegations could not previously be reported for legal reasons.