UK racist murder trial to open

2011-11-14 14:03

London - Two men go on trial in Britain on Monday for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence whose stabbing 18 years ago led to a major inquiry that concluded the police were "institutionally racist".

The 18-year-old student was stabbed to death at a bus stop in an unprovoked attack by a gang of white youths in Eltham, southeast London, in April 1993.

Nobody has ever been convicted for his murder, which was witnessed by his friend.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both white men from south London, deny murdering the teenager.

Tight legal restrictions

The high-profile trial is taking place at the Old Bailey court in London and is expected to last two months.

Much of the past history of the complex case cannot be reported at this stage because it has been placed under tight legal restrictions.

A jury panel is due to be selected on Monday but the case will not be opened until later this week.

Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence, who has campaigned to keep the case in the public eye, paused for photographers as she arrived at the Old Bailey.

The teenager's father Neville, who immigrated to Britain from Jamaica in the 1960s, also arrived at the court.

An inquiry by a senior judge into the way that the case was conducted by London's Metropolitan Police led to significant changes in the way murders involving black victims are investigated.

Race relations soured for years

The hard-hitting report by William Macpherson, published in 1999, gave a damning assessment of the "institutional racism" within the Metropolitan police and policing in general.

The judge made 70 recommendations and his report is regarded by many as a defining moment in British race relations and one of the key moments in the modern history of criminal justice.

Allegations that Metropolitan police officers acted incompetently or that their judgement was obscured by racism soured race relations for years.

Two internal police inquiries exonerated the Metropolitan police itself.

Stephen Lawrence was a promising student whose home life was shaped by his parents' religious faith. His ambition was to become an architect.

He is buried in Jamaica, 56 kilometres west of the capital Kingston in a grave beside his grandmother.

A plaque near the spot where the teenager was murdered has been repeatedly targeted by vandals.

In October, police said a bottle was smashed on the plaque. In previous years vandals have chipped the memorial and poured paint and flammable liquid on the tribute.

  • ludlowdj - 2011-11-14 15:00

    The McPherson report is and was loaded from the start, the investigators have willingly admitted that they started the investigation with the mindset and intention of proving the British police were racist. This investigation was nothing more than justification for the British government to allow uncontrolled non white immigration into Britain as a result of production needs. The entire episode was instigated by and pushed for by the 1%ers

  • Jonathan - 2011-11-14 15:02

    I can't understand this: White people kills black = racism. Black people kills white = just plain crime. also the media seems to be quite hypocritical. If there is anything that portrays a black person in a negative light (regardless whether it is accurate or not) it is racist. But the same media freely and without any complaints of racism like to portray negative stereotypes of white people like 'white trailer trash', red-necks in the American south and even the stereotype that only white people are racist! It's funny, there were even complaints that a certain video game was racist. I am speaking under correction, but I think it was one of the Resident Evil sequels. One of the missions was in Africa and there were black Zombies the player had to kill, this was considered extremely racist. However all the missions where the player kills white Zombies that is apparently acceptable? It would probably be even considered racist, just expressing these concerns, because I am white. However if the tables were turned this wouldn't be racist at all. My problem is just that every one wants equality, but people aren't measured by equal standards. People that are against racism must surely understand that unequal standards like this only leads to more resentment and more racism. or am I wrong?

      Mthuthuzeli - 2011-11-14 16:19

      Why do people think discussions about racism always require a commitment to parity, like some absurd version of political debates on TV? No-one is saying only white are racist. Everyone acknowledges it can work the other way. But that doesn't mean that there can't be any discussion of white on black racism without some absurd box-ticking disclaimer "yes, blacks do it too..." Caucasians' racism is pervasive and systematic. That is not the case for black people.

      Jonathan - 2011-11-14 19:34

      @Mthuthuzeli That is EXACTLY what I am talking about! You just said : "Caucasians' racism is pervasive and systematic. That is not the case for black people". That is a completely unfounded statement and is based solely on your opinion! I actually think blacks tend to be more racist than most whites! They just tell then selves that they target whites because they are poor etc. What gets me is that people, like you, ignorantly assume that when white people commit crime against blacks it is ALWAYS due to racist motives; whereas when blacks commit crimes against whites it is NEVER due to racism. This is a complete fallacy! My problem with the media is always that they just fixate on crimes committed by whites and give the illusion of racism. These stories are normally headlines for weeks to follow (just think of the Waterkloof 4). Whereas stories where the perpetrator is black, the media never labels these stories as racist, regardless of how hateful and violent the crimes are, like the case couple of weeks ago where a black guy stabbed a white girl 23 times and then raped her. Why isn't this racism?!? If he was robbing her he certainly did not need to rape her? If you can not see how this is also racist then you are truly blinded by your own prejudices.

  • marazor - 2011-11-14 15:41

    expose these bastards

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