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Decision not to charge police officers in Stephen Lawrence murder investigation upheld following review


Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “The unprovoked and racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 shocked the nation, and had a vast impact on the criminal justice system in the years that followed.

“Significant changes were made to policy and legislation in the wake of Stephen’s death and in 2012, the CPS was able to successfully prosecute two men for his murder – Gary Dobson and David Norris – due to a change in double jeopardy laws.

“Following our decision in July 2023 not to bring criminal charges against four police officers involved in the initial six weeks of the investigation into Stephen’s murder, we received a request to review the decision under the Victim’s Right to Review (VRR) scheme.

“An extensive review of that decision, which involved an independent prosecutor re-examining a substantial amount of evidence and material in the case, has now been completed.

“Offences of misconduct in public office were reconsidered, but the review upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case.

“We understand this news will be extremely disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends, and the CPS has offered to meet with close family members to explain our reasoning in further detail.”

Notes to editors

  • The decision made followed a request for a review under the VRR scheme, and this second review was conducted by a prosecutor who was independent of the original review. This represents a final decision by the CPS.
  • No request was received under the VRR scheme to review a separate decision not to charge a suspect in relation to allegations of perjury.

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