LONDON — Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Anthony Johnson, has hailed Wednesday's (May 18) ruling by the British Court of Appeal to allow a new trial into the 1993 murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Mr. Johnson said he hoped that Stephen’s parents, Neville and Doreen Lawrence, both of whom are Jamaican, could take comfort from the fact that after a long battle for justice, their son’s alleged killers will finally face justice.
He praised the Lawrence’s indomitable spirit, saying they have demonstrated the importance of fighting relentlessly for justice.
The police reported that Stephen Lawrence was stabbed twice by a group of white youths as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, South East London on the night of April 22, 1993.
The Greenwich university architecture and design student was with his friend Duwayne Brooks when the mob began racially abusing them. Brooks ran and managed to escape. Stephen tried to follow suit but was already mortally wounded and collapsed on the pavement. He later died in hospital and was buried in Clarendon, Jamaica.
The case became one of the most high-profiled murder cases in the UK and attracted charges of institutional racism. The new trial will rely on new forensic evidence, which was factored into yesterday’s ruling by a panel of judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice.
Stephen’s parents, who had brought a failed private prosecution into the murder, said they were happy for the new trail.
“I ‘m really emotional now. I ‘m really pleased by the judgment that happened this morning. It’s been a long time in coming, but we still have a long way to go,” Mrs. Lawrence said.
“At this moment in time, all I can think about is Stephen and that perhaps, somewhere down the line, we will get justice for him. It’s been a long time for us to get to this position,” she added.
Mrs. Lawrence founded the Stephen Lawrence Foundation, which provides scholarships for children in Jamaica and the UK to study architecture.
By ANDREW CLUNIS