Timeline of the Stephen Lawrence case

 

:: April 22, 1993: Stephen Lawrence is stabbed to death in an unprovoked racist attack by a gang of white youths as he waits at a bus stop in Eltham, south east London, with his best friend Duwayne Brooks.

:: May 1993: The Lawrence family complains police are not doing enough to catch the murderers.

:: May-June 1993: Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson, Luke Knight and David Norris are arrested in connection with his murder.

:: July 1993: Committal proceedings are scheduled for Neil Acourt and Mr Knight but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) formally discontinues the prosecution following a meeting with the senior investigating officer.

:: December 1993: Southwark coroner Sir Montague Levine halts an inquest into Mr Lawrence's death after the family's barrister, Michael Mansfield QC, says there is "dramatic" new evidence in the case.

:: April 1994: The CPS says the new evidence is insufficient to support murder charges.

:: September 1994: The Lawrence family begins a private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Mr Knight and Dobson.

:: December 1994: Secret video evidence is filmed showing Dobson and Norris making obscene racist remarks.

:: April 1996: The private prosecution against Neil Acourt, Mr Knight and Dobson begins at the Old Bailey but collapses after identification evidence is ruled inadmissible. The three are acquitted.

:: February 1997: An inquest jury finds that Mr Lawrence was "unlawfully killed by five white youths".

:: December 1997: A Police Complaints Authority report on the original police investigation of Mr Lawrence's murder identifies "significant weaknesses, omissions and lost opportunities".

:: February 1999: The Macpherson report finds the police guilty of mistakes and "institutional racism" and makes a series of recommendations on changes to policing and wider public policy.

It also suggested a rethink of the principle of "double jeopardy", to allow the retrial of acquitted defendants in exceptional circumstances if new evidence emerged of their guilt.

:: April 1999: The five men arrested in 1993 deny involvement in the murder in a television interview.

:: September 2002: Norris and Neil Acourt are jailed for 18 months for a racist attack on off-duty black policeman Gareth Reid.

Norris had thrown a drink at the officer from a car and shouted "n****r" while Acourt drove the vehicle at him during the attack in May the previous year, in Eltham, south east London, less than a mile from where Mr Lawrence was murdered.

:: May 2004: The CPS announces there is "insufficient evidence" to prosecute anyone for the murder.

:: April 2005: The double jeopardy legal principle, preventing suspects being tried twice for the same crime, is scrapped for certain offences when there is new evidence.

:: July 2006: A BBC documentary alleges police corruption in the Lawrence case.

:: October 2007: The Independent Police Complaints Commission finds no evidence of corruption and no evidence of dishonest links.

:: November 2007: Police confirm they are investigating new forensic evidence in the case.

:: April 2010: Detective Paul Steed is demoted after tampering with key dates and times on an evidence log about the case. He was said to have acted out of spite after being thrown off the inquiry because he had been convicted of assault in Spain.

:: May 18, 2011: The Court of Appeal agrees that Dobson's 1996 acquittal for the murder can be quashed in the face of new forensic evidence. It can then be reported for the first time that Dobson and Norris will face trial.

:: November 14, 2011: The trial of Dobson and Norris for Mr Lawrence's murder begins at the Old Bailey.

:: January 3, 2012: Dobson and Norris are found guilty of his murder.

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