'Scotland's Stephen Lawrence' case to be re-opened
Scottish police are to renew their hunt for the killers of an Asian waiter murdered by a white gang 13 years ago, following coverage by The Independent.
Prosecutors ordered the Strathclyde force to re-open its file on the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar, who became known as "Scotland's Stephen Lawrence", after meeting the victim's family in Edinburgh yesterday.
Three men were previously cleared of the 1998 attack. But the abolition of the double-jeopardy law means those formerly accused can be brought to court again if there is "new and compelling" evidence against them.
The Solicitor-General for Scotland, Lesley Thompson, said the passage of time since the murder would be "no protection for those for whom there is new and compelling evidence of guilt".
Scotland's chief legal officer, the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, met Mr Chhokar's sister Manjit Sangha, 50, and his niece Suki Sangha, 25, at the Crown Office. Speaking after the announcement, Mr Chhokar's niece Jasneet Sangha, 30, said: "My family approached this meeting not knowing what to expect. We are happy with the outcome. It is what we hoped for but we have a long path still to walk."
Mr Chhokar's murder, in November 1998, remains one of Britain's most notorious unsolved crimes. The 32-year-old was knifed to death in Overtown, South Lanarkshire, by three white men. Police ruled out race as a motive but the Chhokar family has always believed his ethnicity was a factor.
The original suspects blamed one another during two separate trials. All three were acquitted. Two inquiries were held into the investigation and the police's treatment of the Chhokars. In 2001, the Jandoo inquiry found elements of "institutional racism" in the police and prosecution service and the then Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, admitted the Crown Office and Strathclyde force had failed the family.
The family's solicitor, Aamer Anwar, said: "The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor-General have taken important steps today. But there are significant hurdles to cross. The family believe there is a determination to fight for justice."
Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
South Korea ferry passengers who were told to stay put 'got trapped' aboard sinking ship
Are beards attractive? Ryan Gosling says yes, but science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge and find out who's right
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness 'unqualified' to testify
Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 Big Bang Theory to get special Star Wars episode with help from Lucasfilm
- 3 Babies cry at night to stop mothers procreating, scientists claim
- 4 Pharrell Williams 'Happy': British Muslims dance to song in video
- 5 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews