18 years for Stephen Lawrence’s killers to face justice

Photos released by the Crown Prosecution Service show Gary Dobson, left, and David Norris. The two men have been convicted of the 1993 murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence

Two men standing trial for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 has been found guilty by a jury who reached a unanimous verdict, 18 years after the young black teenager was murdered by a gang of white racists.

Gary Dobson and David Norris have been found guilty of murdering Stephen Lawrence in a racist attack in April 1993.

A system that condoned race murder

Stephen Lawrence was attacked whilst waiting for a bus on 22 April, 1993, at 10:35pm. A group of white racists referred to him as a ‘nigger’ and stabbed him. He managed to run over 100 yards but the five inch knife wounds caused his lungs to collapse.

The racist murder was shocking enough for black and ethnic minority communities, but it was how the police dealt with evidence corruptly and prejudiced that outraged black and ethnic minority communities in England.

Evidence of corruption involving police officers and suspects was aired by a BBC investigation in July 2006. (Lawrence case ‘corruption’ probe : BBC: Wednesday, July 26, 2006)

In 2009, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) arrested a former police constable on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice by allegedly withholding evidence.

In November 2007, the police said that they were looking into new scientific evidence linking the DNA of the suspects with clothes at the scene of the murder. It is this evidence that has led to the new trial on November 14, 2011.

Gary Dobson and David Norris were two of the five males who took part in the attack on Stephen Lawrence, and have now been finally found guilty of his murder, 18 years after he was killed.

After Stephen’s murder the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) were found to be institutionally racist by Sir William Macpherson in 1999, after he led an inquiry into the murder and subsequent investigation by the police and CPS.

The enquiry is said to be a turning point in British race relations history, with the police force and public civil services such as the NHS, councils, schools and the judicial system being subjected to race equality recommendations.

Resistance to race equality

It would be nice to believe that after 18 years of fighting, the Lawrence family and race equality campaigners have finally found justice with this conviction, but the evidence reveals that the battle continues and in fact racism is as alive as ever in the UK.

When Macpherson concluded that the police and criminal justice system was institutionally racist, the impact and effect of this has often been played down by the mainstream media and the government.

This term indicates that a group of people working within an organisation conspired and continue to conspire to apply unfair policies, practices and laws to black and minority ethnic people.

What does this mean in practical terms? Let us examine this together. In my article, New equality report reveals a racially unequal Britain, on October 11, 2010, I referred to The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report titled, “Young Black People and the Criminal Justice System” (2006-2007).

The report found that, “Black people of all ages are three times more likely to be arrested than white people…Black people constitute 2.7% of the population aged 10–17, but represent 8.5% of all those arrested in England and Wales…Black people are just over six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people…” (P.16)

It was also said that “Once they have been charged with an offence, black young offenders are significantly less likely to be given unconditional bail compared to white young offenders and black young offenders are more likely to be remanded in custody compared to white re-offenders.” (P.17)

Young people of mixed race ethnicity were also the victims of a racially discriminative justice system. According to the report “…young black people and young people of ‘mixed’ ethnicity, when sentenced, are more likely to receive more punitive sentences than young white people.” (p.17)

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that by the ages of 22-24 the number of Asians and black people in neither employment, education or training rises.

The EHRC report said “Recent research found that Black and Asian groups earn less than White British people with the same qualification level and in particular Black male graduates earn 24% less than White British male graduates.” (p.415)

In social housing, black and minority ethnic groups live in the most deprived areas and according to research racial discrimination is responsible.

Institutional racism is a serious disease which prevents black and minority ethnic people from fulfilling their potential and progressing from generation to generation.

Yet, whilst the media and the government will be using the conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris to sell papers and win votes respectively, let us not forget that they have resisted the changes recommended in the Macpherson report.

According to the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) an average of five race murders occur in the UK every year since the race murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993 by a gang of racists. (Read  Five racial murders per year says race institute)

What must be asked is why these murders do not make the news? Instead the mainstream media, the same media claiming to be on the side of racial justice has been busy stirring up white people by claiming that they are now the main victims of racist attacks. The IRR report rubbished these claims as research found that 94 percent of race murders are perpetrated by whites.

In my article White victimhood: The new racism, I reported how the mainstream media and the government are deceptively making out that whites are now being discriminated against.

The Macpherson recommendations is now being turned on its head, and black and minority ethnic groups are being accused of racism, accused of being promoted in employment because of their skin colour among other accusations. This campaign of reverse racism has been led by the media and despite all the accusations, it is black and minority ethnic groups that suffer the most racist attacks, still live in the most deprived areas, are more likely to be unemployed despite being educated; it is these groups that are more likely to be put in jail and convicted.

It is the disease of racism which resulted in the parents of Stephen Lawrence having to wait 18 years to see some justice, and the battle against racism is far from over.

For further research:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5214644.stm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/nov/08/ukcrime.lawrence

 


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2 Responses to 18 years for Stephen Lawrence’s killers to face justice

  1. Mark Watson says:

    Gary Dobson has been sentenced to a minumum of 15 years and David Norris to a minimum 14 years for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. At last the Lawrence family has seen some justice in Britain.

  2. Lula says:

    2012 could not have got off to a better start as far as I am concerned. Whilst following the trial I wondered daily whether this time justice would prevail. Some argue that they did not get long enough and with appeals and the rest of it will probably only serve half that time; but as we know their lives have been pretty pitiful since they murdered Stephen with stints in jail and now they are now beyond both pitiful and pathetic. At last they have been proven as murderers though we – both black and white people – knew it from the start.

    I want to think that if something like this happened today, the process of bringing the perpetrators to justice would not be so tortuous for the family and the public. Even though these days arrests are made within days when a young black man is murdered in London and beyond (Boxing Day Sales Murder on Oxford Street and New Years Murder in Manchester) and convictions come thick and fast, I still don’t trust that this travesty could not happen again. That is one of the legacies of such a scandal, once trust is lost in a system, it is hard to get that back.

    Rest in peace Stephen – thank you for your sacrifice.

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