Norris is cleared of knife offence

THE BROTHER of David Norris, one of the prime suspects in the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, was found not guilty yesterday of possessing an offensive weapon - a knife - during an alleged assault on an Asian motorist.

But 20-year-old Clifford Norris from Chislehurst in Kent faces a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict on a second count of malicious wounding. Mr Norris, who denied both charges, had said in his defence that his brother David "could" have been the person who "sliced open" Gatri Hassan's face in Downham Lane, south-east London in 1998. Mr Norris also admitted to the jury that he lied to the police to protect his brother. Mr Norris had told the jury at Woolwich Crown Court in south London that he had lent his car, a blue Peugeot 106, to David Norris on the night of the attack - 29 November 1998.

Clifford Norris also said in court that he accepted that whoever drove the car was responsible for the assault on Mr Hassan. He maintained that he was at the home of his girlfriend at the time of the assault.

Mr Hassan told the court he was attacked after a blue Peugeot 106 sped up behind him, overtook him and slammed on its brakes. A little further along the road, this was repeated. In the confrontation that followed Mr Hassan was assaulted.

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