Mansfield to defend Dando case suspect

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The Independent Online

The radical lawyer Michael Mansfield QC, who represented Stephen Lawrence's family, is to defend the man accused of shooting dead Jill Dando.

The radical lawyer Michael Mansfield QC, who represented Stephen Lawrence's family, is to defend the man accused of shooting dead Jill Dando.

Mr Mansfield has agreed to act as lead counsel for Barry George, 40, who is charged with murdering Ms Dando on 26 April 1999 on the doorstep of her home in Gowan Avenue, west London.

The barrister is best known for his cross-examination of police officers involved in the bungled murder investigation into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in 1993.

More recently, he agreed to represent the families of two black men, Errol and Jason McGowan, who were found dead in mysterious circumstances in Telford, Shropshire.

He represented the family of Ricky Reel at his inquest, where the jury sided with the family in returning an open verdict, rejecting the police's account that the Asian teenager's death was accidental. He also represented the family of the IRA man Diarmuid O'Neill at the inquest into his killing.

He is a leading and founding member of the national civil rights movement, set up inresponse to the Macphersonreport into the Lawrence case to campaign for racial justice.

Mr George, an unemployed musician of Crookham Road, Fulham, southwest London, who also calls himself Bulsara after the real name of the late Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen, was remanded in custody yesterday at Bow Street magistrates' court in central London.

Wearing a dark blue short- sleeve shirt and tan trousers, he said he was happy to appear again in court next Monday.

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