Socialist Worker

Guilty: Historic verdict in Stephen Lawrence case despite police racism

by Anindya Bhattacharyya at the Old Bailey
Issue No. 2284

Two men have finally been convicted of the notorious racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. A jury unanimously found David Norris and Gary Dobson guilty of his murder at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

This is a historic moment. It has taken 19 years to bring them to justice. Other members of the gang are yet to be convicted.

Stephen was just 18 when he was chased and stabbed by a racist gang in south east London—an area where the fascist BNP had its headquarters. His stabbing sent shockwaves across Britain.

Stephen’s friend Duwayne Brooks, who was chased with Stephen by the racist gang on the night he died, gave evidence in the trial. Moments after the verdict he wrote, “Some JUSTICE at last”.

Stephen’s mother Doreen Lawrence, his father Neville and his younger brother Stuart were in court to hear the verdict and sat through most of the trial. They had campaigned for justice tirelessly for many years, and their battle shaped a generation of anti-racists. Doreen sobbed as the verdict was read out.

Speaking before the verdict, Doreen said that the police failed to catch the killers of Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago because of “the colour of my skin”.

She added, “If we do see justice how many others are not? We are just one family among hundreds of thousands still suffering.” After the verdict she added, “This day could have come 18 years ago if the police had not failed so miserably.”

The murderers remained defiant to the last. Michael Mansfield QC, who represented the Lawrence family in the trial, told the BBC that “bigoted” ideas like those of Dobson and Norris need to be tackled. The two were set to be sentenced as Socialist Worker went to press.

This is a victory—but the other members of the gang and the corrupt cops who ran the previous investigation still need to be brought to justice.

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