Lawrence jurors told not to bow to pressure

 

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The Independent Online

Jurors in the Stephen Lawrence murder trial were warned not to bring back guilty verdicts under emotional pressure or on the basis that "racism would have won" if they did not do so.

A barrister representing one of the two men accused of stabbing the black teenager to death in a racist attack in south London in 1993 said Britain had changed since then.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, both of south London, deny murder and claim forensic evidence on clothing is the result of contamination.

Stephen Batten, QC, for Norris, told the jury to keep their objectivity in the five-week case.

He described the forensic evidence implicating Mr Norris as "waffle".

Mr Batten asked: "Do you have a sense that the well meaning still feel unless there is a conviction some time in the case of Stephen Lawrence and his senseless death, that somehow racism would have won?" He added: "The country has come a long way since 1993."

He asked the jurors that if, when they retire to reach verdicts, they would feel "some extra weight of responsibility" compared to other juries.

The trial was adjourned to Wednesday when Mr Justice Treacy will sum up the case.