Lawrence Case Suspects Could Face Murder Trial a Broad; as Police Announce Breakthrough in Race Killing, Dutch Court May Be Asked to Try Accused

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), February 6, 2000 | Go to article overview

Lawrence Case Suspects Could Face Murder Trial a Broad; as Police Announce Breakthrough in Race Killing, Dutch Court May Be Asked to Try Accused


Byline: CHESTER STERN

DETECTIVES investigating the race murder of Stephen Lawrence may ask for his alleged killers to be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The unprecedented move, being considered by Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service, comes as detectives claim they are closing in on the gang which stabbed the black teenager to death in 1993.

Police say moving the court abroad would overcome objections that the defendants could not have a fair trial in Britain.

'It would be almost impossible to find an unbiased jury,' said one senior officer.

'After all the publicity, you would be hard-pressed to find any member of the public who doesn't think they did it.

'It is an extraordinary case which demands extraordinary measures in the public interest. There is nothing to say we can take the trial abroad. But there is nothing to say that we can't, so it is an avenue we have to pursue seriously.' Legal experts say Britain's treaty with the International Criminal Court would have to be varied to give the court jurisdiction over British law. Cases are heard by a panel of judges, so the problem of a prejudiced jury would be overcome.

Alternatively, a temporary court could be set up similar to the one trying two Libyans for the Lockerbie bombing. An area of Holland could be designated as England for the trial, but only if all parties agree to it.

If the defendants did agree to a trial in 'This case demands extraordinary measures' Holland before a panel of judges, they would have the later right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. …

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