Family of 'Scotland's Stephen Lawrence' make plea for justice

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The sister of an Asian man stabbed to death more than 13 years ago in one of Britain's most notorious unsolved murders has made an emotional plea for his killers to be brought to justice.

Manjit Sangha, the sister of the murdered waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar, said the family had "only ever asked for justice", amid growing calls for Scotland's top law officer to reopen the case

Mr Chhokar became known as "Scotland's Stephen Lawrence" after prosecutors failed to convict anyone, despite three arrests and two trials.

Pressure has mounted on the Crown Office, Scotland's prosecution service, to look again at the November 1998 murder since the successful convictions of two men for the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

After the convictions, The Independent called for lawmakers across the country to reinvestigate cold-case murders to bring justice to the families of victims of other suspected racist attacks. "We are not here to start a campaign again, but my family simply want the Lord Advocate to bring Surjit's killers to court and give us justice," Ms Sangha said yesterday at a press conference at the Scottish Parliament.

"All that we have ever asked for is justice."

Ms Sangha was joined by the family's solicitor Aamer Anwar and Graeme Pearson, the Labour MSP who was head of crime at Strathclyde Police at the time of the murder. Mr Chhokar's seriously ill father was not able to attend, but Ms Sangha said his last wish was for justice for his son. Frank Mulholland, Scotland's Lord Advocate has agreed to meet the family next week.

Recent changes to Scotland's double-jeopardy law mean that the men acquitted previously of the murder could be tried again. Mr Anwar said that prosecutors had pledged to "do their utmost" to reinvestigate cases under the new legislation. The family want the three men interviewed again.

It is hoped that advances in forensic technology since the first investigation could bring new DNA evidence to light.