The murder of Stephen Lawrence
A tragic murder occurred in 1993 that sent shockwaves throughout the UK and led to changes in policing and race relations. This horrific crime was committed on 22nd April 1993 and the life of 18 year old student Stephen Lawrence was taken. He was discovered in a pool of blood after being stabbed at bus stop; the racist attack was completely unprovoked. Years later his mother, Doreen Lawrence is still campaigning to gain justice over her son’s unlawful death as Stephen’s killers were never convicted. The death of Stephen had opened people’s eyes and many attended the memorial to mark the anniversary. Mrs Lawrence was appalled at the way the case was handled the police dragged it out and it took too long and no real evidence was found to convict the culprits. But now a lot later on after the murder the policing system has changed greatly. Since the report (published in 1998), police officers now have to fill out forms every time they question someone. The change occurred because of the unrecorded stops of vehicles driven by Asian or black people. Stop and search is now used to reduce gun and knife crime. The National Black Police Association (NBPA) believes that the stop and searches are indicators of institutional racism but even they admit that the UK has been trying to change the dynamic of policing. A consequence of Stephen’s murder is that the 800 year old double jeopardy rule as part of the Criminal Justice Act has been abolished and that particular rule stopped a person being tried for the same crime twice. Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt, Luke Knight, Jamie Acourt and David Norris were arrested over the murder but the Prosecution Service failed to prosecute anyone due to lack of evidence. They were acquitted after private prosecution collapsed. In November, the case was re-opened and DNA samples are being taken. There are still racist acts similar to the one that led to the death of Stephen as his memorial was vandalised at...
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