Police reconstruct Surjit Singh Chhokar crime scene
DETECTIVES investigating the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar 14 years ago last night staged a reconstruction of the crime scene.
Officers recreated how the street where the Indian waiter was fatally attacked would have looked on the night he was killed on 4 November, 1998.
The move came in an attempt to jog people’s memories about the killing in Wishaw, Lanarkshire, after the case was reopened by Strathclyde Police earlier this year.
Three local men stood trial for the murder in 1999 and 2000, but criticisms were later made of the way the Crown Office prosecuted the accused in two separate trials, a move that ultimately allowed the men to blame each other for the murder.
Ronnie Coulter, who stood accused in the first court case, was cleared of murder with his nephew Andrew Coulter and his co-accused David Montgomery walking free from court following the second trial.
A subsequent inquiry into the investigation alleged “institutional racism” within the police and prosecution service, leading to the Chhokar case being dubbed “Scotland’s Stephen Lawrence”.
Last night’s reconstruction centred on Garrion Street in the Overtown area of the town where the 32-year-old was allegedly set upon by three men outside the home of his girlfriend Liz Bryce. The reconstruction will not be shown on television or online, but photographs and footage will be used in the inquiry for interviewing potential witnesses and for court purposes.
In January, the Crown Office asked Strathclyde Police to reopen the murder inquiry after changes to double jeopardy rules, which had barred an accused from being tried twice for the same crime. Before last night’s operation, residents were warned not to be alarmed by the heightened police presence.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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