UK

Stephen Lawrence Murderer David Norris Loses Appeal

10/05/2013 11:13 BST | Updated 10/05/2013 13:21 BST
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - UNDATED: This handout image provided by the Metropolitan Police shows David Norris in London, England. Gary Dobson and David Norris were today found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, 18 years after he was stabbed to death at a south London bus stop. New scientific evidence tied both men to the murder and after today's verdict, they are now due to face sentencing tomorrow. (Photo by Metropolitan Police via Getty Images)

One of the two men jailed for the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence has lost a bid to challenge his conviction.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected an application brought by David Norris.

He had made a renewed application seeking permission to appeal against his murder conviction.

Gary Dobson, the second man jailed for life for the murder, had previously dropped his appeal.

A gang of five or six white young people set upon 18-year-old A-level student Mr Lawrence in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

stephen lawrence

Stephen Lawrence was murdered 20 years ago

Friday's application was thrown out by Lord Justice Leveson, Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Hickinbottom.

Norris, now 36, was convicted at the Old Bailey in January 2012 and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 14 years and three months, which he has to serve before becoming eligible to apply for parole.

At the Court of Appeal, his QC Tim Owen failed to persuade the three judges to grant an adjournment and to make an order for funding which would have allowed the defence team to obtain expert DNA transfer evidence relating to what would have formed the main plank of a conviction challenge.

After hearing argument from Mr Owen and the prosecution, Lord Justice Leveson announced that the court was not prepared to adjourn the application for leave to appeal or to grant a "representation order" for further expert evidence to be obtained.

The court went on to declare that the application for leave was dismissed and because of the public interest in the case the reasons for the decision would be announced next week.

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Norris and Dobson were tried for murder on the basis of new scientific evidence.

The appeal bid by Norris centred on a claim that his trial was "rendered unfair because only towards the end of the defence case did the full extent of the prosecution's case on the critical issue of DNA transfer become clear".

In written argument before the judges, Mr Owen submitted that there was a "fundamentally important development" in the prosecution's case late in the proceedings, which had not been anticipated by the defence, relating to the possibility of "secondary transfer" of DNA.

Making the application for an adjournment, Mr Owen said he was seeking "a limited representation order" to enable an expert to examine that issue. It was believed this would cost around £4,000.

He told the judges that there was no funding "because there is no legal aid at this stage".

Dobson, who was also given a life sentence at the Old Bailey, had abandoned his renewed application to appeal against his conviction for the murder.

Last summer, applications for permission to appeal by both men were rejected by a single judge who considered the papers from the case.

But Dobson and Norris still had the right to renew their applications before a panel of judges sitting at the Court of Appeal.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Treacy, described the murder as a "terrible and evil crime".

He urged police not to "close the file" on catching the rest of the killers.

He said the murder was committed "for no other reason than racial hatred".

Mr Justice Treacy told the pair: "A totally innocent 18-year-old youth on the threshold of a promising life was brutally cut down in the street in front of eyewitnesses by a racist, thuggish gang."

The breakthrough in the investigation came when a cold case team of forensic scientists was called in.