Leading article: Justice has no place for a lynch mob

 

Share
Related Topics

The jailing of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the slaying of Stephen Lawrence should not mark the end of the police investigation into the stabbing of the 18-year-old south Londoner almost two decades ago. But neither must it prompt the formation of a lynch mob setting off in pursuit of the several others thought to have been involved.

The Crown Prosecution Service and Scotland Yard rightly deserve praise for bringing an extremely difficult case to a successful conclusion. They, and the loudly braying public and media, must remember, however, that the convictions were achieved only because the correct legal and investigative procedures were followed to the very letter. Anything neglected, any slip up, and Dobson and Norris would have walked free. So it is with the fellow members of the gang of white youths that set upon Stephen Lawrence.

The dramatic courtroom instruction from the trial judge, Mr Justice Treacy, to the senior Lawrence detective to keep hunting down those also responsible, and the promise from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, that the force would do so, cannot be interpreted as a licence to throw normal checks and measures to one side. Nor should they be seen as granting permission to abandon the rule of law.

So if it transpires that ultimately a prosecution cannot be brought through lack of evidence, then that should be the end of it – however unpalatable such an end might be. One of the sustaining features of the entire Lawrence case has been the dignity and restraint exhibited by his family. At no point have his parents, Doreen and Neville, allowed their emotions to take over, despite what at times must have been incredible pressure.

It would be a terrible pity now if anger boiled over into reckless revenge – whether in comment or in deed. Everyone involved – police, prosecutors and, yes, the press – must behave responsibly. Stooping to the level of the racist knife-wielders will only play into their hands. For the sake of Stephen Lawrence that cannot be allowed to happen.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Supervisor

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well establis...

Recruitment Genius: IT Technical Support Engineer / Helpdesk Engineer

£16500 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A full-service agency based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £21,000

£16000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to company expansion a fant...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Budget 2015: George Osborne should earn his reputation for courage by abolishing free TV licences for the over 75s

Christopher Bland
The possibility of Corbyn winning has excited some Conservatives  

Labour leadership: The choice at the heart of the leadership campaign

Jeremy Corbyn
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy