Barry George appeal loss is ‘travesty of justice’

Barry George, left, outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after judges rejected his claim for compensation. Picture: PA
Barry George, left, outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after judges rejected his claim for compensation. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

Barry George, who spent eight years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the murder of television presenter Jill Dando, has lost his legal battle for compensation as a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Yesterday, his family described the verdict as a “travesty of justice”.

The latest legal move at the Court of Appeal followed the dismissal of his claim by two High Court judges in January.

Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Irwin had rejected his claim that the justice secretary unfairly and unlawfully decided he was “not innocent enough to be compensated”.

They ruled that the secretary of state was “entirely justified in the conclusion he reached”.

Lord Justice Richards, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London, yesterday rejected an application by Mr George for permission to challenge the January decision.

He announced that the 53-year-old – who was present in court for the ruling – had “no realistic prospects” of success on appeal.

Mr George went to the High Court seeking a reconsideration of his case which could have opened the way for him to claim an award of up to £500,000 for lost earnings and wrongful imprisonment.

It was argued on his behalf that the decision to refuse compensation was “defective and contrary to natural justice”.

But Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Irwin ruled that he had “failed the legal test” to receive an award.

Miss Dando was shot dead outside her home in Fulham, west London, in April 1999.

After his conviction in July 2001, Mr George, of Fulham, was acquitted of killing the 37-year-old BBC presenter at a retrial in August 2008. After yesterday’s ruling, Mr George’s sister Michelle Diskin criticised the legal system.

With her brother standing by her side, she said: “There never was any viable evidence against Barry.

“This whole case from April 2000 until today has been a smoke-and-mirrors exercise designed to placate a worried public, and give the impression that justice had been done.

“Well neither the Dando family, nor our family, has seen any justice in the past 13 years.”

She added: “We cannot let this go unchallenged.

“Serving eight years in prison for someone else’s crime is not acceptable.

“Everything was taken from this man when the police started what we believe to be a malicious prosecution.

“He lost his home, his furniture, his clothing and all of his possessions, his place within his community and his church family.”

She went on: “How did this unjust legal system expect him to start his life over? He can never get back everything that was taken from him.”

Ms Diskin said the family would prepare to “stand against this latest travesty of justice”.

“Barry is innocent. He deserves a settlement to compensate for all that was taken from him – everything he owned and eight years of his life.”