Damilola's father attacks judge's directions to jury concerning mobile phone evidence

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The Independent Online

The father of Damilola Taylor has attacked the judge in his son's murder trial calling him "incompetent" and claiming he made significant mistakes in summing up the case.

Richard Taylor, 46, has also said he believes the two 16-year-old brothers cleared on Thursday of the murder were responsible for stabbing his 10-year-old son to death.

During the judge's summing up at the end of the trial Mr Justice Hooper ruled that the two brothers could not have run from the scene in south-east London where Damilola sustained a fatal injury in November 2000 to an area where their mobile phones were used shortly afterwards. That meant that, if they were to convict the boys, the jurors had to be sure they had both lent the phones to other people.

But evidence during the cross examination of a police officer revealed the distance was 1.3 miles if you cut across a park, rather than the two miles quoted by the defence and the judge. The prosecution, however, did not highlight the shorter distance.

Mr Taylor, speaking with his wife Gloria on ITV1 in Tonight with Trevor McDonald, due to be broadcast this evening, said: "The judge directed them (the jury) that they cannot convict with that evidence of the (mobile) telephone ... this is one of the mistakes I feel the judge has done by dictating – the jury are there to make a decision on their own. They were told by the judge and it's an incompetent way of handling a trial of this nature."

Mr Taylor then said: "I'm not blaming the judge but I'm not happy with the way he handled the whole trial."

An inquiry is to be held into the way the Crown Prosecution Service handled the case.

In contrast, the police officers who investigated Damilola's death were praised by the boy's father who said they did a "good job" and had not "bungled anything".

Mr Taylor said they would be meeting with their solicitor to discuss what further legal options were open to them.

Mr Taylor also described overhearing the brothers "giggling" and "laughing" in court.

"They were being pampered ... they weren't treated as suspects, so they were just there, thinking that they are there to play," Mr Taylor said.

He added that the moment the foreman of the jury announced the brothers were not guilty was "a nightmare" and his wife said she was "devastated".

Mr Taylor said at the weekend about the brothers: "All the evidence in the case is pointing an accusing fingers at them. They did it."