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18 years on, 2 men to stand trial over killing of Stephen Lawrence

New evidence comes to light 19th May 2011: With new evidence coming to light, two men will go on trial over the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago.
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The stabbing to death of the 18-year-old A-level student at a bus stop in Eltham in southeast London is considered one of Britain’s most notorious unsolved crimes. At the time of the incident, he was waiting with a friend, Duwayne Brooks.

The incident, though not isolated, had sent shock waves, across the country. As many as 89 people have lost their lives in racial violence attacks in the UK since his murder on 22 April 1993.

Till date, n one has been convicted of the murder, even though a small team of Scotland Yard detectives continued to probe the death.

Reports trickling in suggest that Gary Dobson, 35, and David Norris, 34, were remanded in custody after being arrested in  September last over the murder.

A preliminary hearing is due to take place in the next two months, and Dobson and Norris are expected to stand trial in November at the Old Bailey.

The announcement on a new trial over Lawrence’s death was made by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London with Justice Rafferty and Justice Holroyde.

Describing Stephen’s murder was a "calamitous crime", the Lord Chief Justice said he was a young black man of great promise, targeted and killed by a group of white youths just because of the colour of his skin.

Way back in 1996 Dobson, Luke Knight and Neil Acourt were tried for murder in a private prosecution brought by Lawrence’s parents at the Old Bailey.

But the judge then ruled there was insufficient evidence to justify the continuation of the prosecution and the purported identification evidence was not admissible. The jury was asked to acquit the defendants.

Norris was never charged over the stabbing. Dobson, on the other hand, was acquitted in a private murder prosecution brought in 1996 by Stephen’s parents.

The latest ruling by the appeal judges came on an application by the prosecution for quashing the acquittal of Dobson and for a retrial to be ordered.

Reacting to the developments, Lawrence told Channel 4 News he was delighted with the decision. he said he waited 18 years for something to happen. He added he was pleased and delighted and was looking forward to the next six months.

Stephen’s mother Doreen said it has been a long time for them to get to this position. That’s all she wanted to say.

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