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No charges for ex-police officers in original Stephen Lawrence investigation


Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “The appalling racist murder of Stephen Lawrence 30 years ago had far-reaching implications on policing in this country, and for the nation as a whole. 

“Our thoughts remain with Stephen’s family and friends as they have done throughout the three decades since the investigation into his murder began.

“Although we were unable to bring charges before, in 2012 the CPS successfully prosecuted Gary Dobson and David Norris for Stephen’s murder following a change in the law relating to double jeopardy.

“Following a referral by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in 2021, the CPS has carefully considered criminal charges against four officers involved in the early stages of the investigation into Stephen’s murder in 1993.

“Charges of misconduct in public office were considered concerning the four officers’ management of the initial six weeks of the murder investigation.

“Having meticulously reviewed substantial amounts of available evidence and material in this complex case, we have decided that no criminal charges will be brought against the four suspects.

“Furthermore, no criminal charges will be brought in relation to a further investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into allegations of perjury by a suspect who alleged corruption in the initial murder investigation as it also did not meet our legal test for prosecution.

“We understand this may be deeply disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends, and the CPS has offered to meet with close family members to explain our decision in detail.”

The decision is also subject to the Victim’s Right of Review (VRR) scheme which provides a victim or their families in some classes of case with a specifically designed process to exercise the right to review certain CPS decisions not to start a prosecution or to stop a prosecution.

Notes to editors

•    Under the VRR scheme if a new decision is reached, it may be appropriate to institute or reinstitute criminal proceedings.
•    The right to request a review of a decision not to prosecute under the VRR scheme applies to Full Code Test decisions that have made by a Crown Prosecutor, regardless of their grade or position in the organisation. 
•    It is important to note that the “right” referred to in the context of the VRR scheme is the right to request a review of a final decision. It is not a guarantee that proceedings will be instituted or reinstituted.
•    Following a review under the scheme, qualifying decisions not to charge, to discontinue or to  withdraw can be instituted or reinstituted, subject to any statutory time limits. 
•    There are two possible review outcomes:
1.    A New Decision: when the earlier decision is overturned.
2.    Uphold Previous Decision: the original decision not to prosecute is upheld, and the victim notified and provided with an explanation

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