Stephen Lawrence and Double Jeopardy

So after 18 years two people have been brought to book for this heinous crime and all because of the overturning of the “double jeopardy” rule.

Initially I was against the rewriting of this cornerstone of British justice as I thought it may lead to trial by the media and public opinion, but times and technology change and in order to keep pace with this, surely it is right, that given strict safeguards, if it means more people being brought to justice for their crimes, then it is generally a good thing.The fact that it is based on new evidence leads me to believe that the sureness of a safe trial is of paramount importance. Did the defendants receive a fair trial? on balance I believe they did.

In any crime there are only 3 types of evidence:-

Forensic, Witness and Admissions and all evidence which is gathered will always fall into one of these categories. There may tend to be an overreliance on Forensic nowadays and we should always remember that this evidence only places the person at the scene, it does not allow us to know what they did whilst there. Hence the “contamination defence” in this trial as the defendants never explained the forensic link to the scene, pursuing instead a now proven lie supported by others that “they were not there”

We have now been fortunate as a society with this trial to have shone a chink of light through an open door into the dark and murky world of racist thuggery, which still exists in our society and is demonstrated by many contingent instances. As recently as this festive season and in the form of the murder of an Indian student in Salford for no apparent reason other than he came from a different cultural background. Let us continue to force the door open to expose this awful crime to the world and demonstrate how we as a nation deal with those who peddle this hate filled animosity to others of a different background.

As the good people of this country demonstrated after the riots, by clearing the detritus of riot from our streets, let’s do the same for racist thuggery. There may not be any forensic evidence now to link others to  this crime due to the time delay or lack of forensic ability, but it is inconceivable that arrogant and ignorant young men such as the other people who participated in this vile act have not boasted to others of their deed and now is the time for the police to use all means at their disposal to help overcome the fear or misguided loyalties of people who know what happened and help them to come forward as witnesses and say so in open court and convict the others involved and shine the light fully so that justice is seen to be done and the Lawrences’ as a family can grieve at last for their son.

Times have changed and these racist and xenophobic views are diminishing day by day but we must never be complacent because like any pandemic they can metamorphasise, gain credence and momentum and return at any time.

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