Stephen Lawrence murder: Judge throws out appeal
• David Norris had made a renewed application seeking permission to appeal against his murder conviction
• Gary Dobson, the second man jailed for the murder, had previously dropped his appeal
Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected an application brought by David Norris yesterday.
He had made a renewed application seeking permission to appeal against his murder conviction.
But the application was thrown out by Lord Justice Leveson, Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Hickinbottom.
Gary Dobson, the second man jailed for life for the murder, had previously dropped his appeal.
A gang of five or six young white men set upon 18-year-old A-level student Mr Lawrence in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.
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 the 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.
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 judges at the Court of Appeal.