Decision not to charge officers in Stephen Lawrence murder investigation upheld following review

Four retired detectives who ran the first Stephen Lawrence murder investigation will not face criminal charges for their actions in the case, a review has concluded.

Jun 18, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Stephen Lawrence

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime Division, said the “extensive review” upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case.

Mr Lawrence was murdered in April 1993 in a racist attack in South London.

Ms Ainslie said: “The unprovoked and racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 shocked the nation, and had a vast impact on the criminal justice system in the years that followed.

“Significant changes were made to policy and legislation in the wake of Stephen’s death and in 2012, the CPS was able to successfully prosecute two men for his murder – Gary Dobson and David Norris – due to a change in double jeopardy laws.

“Following our decision in July 2023 not to bring criminal charges against four police officers involved in the initial six weeks of the investigation into Stephen’s murder, we received a request to review the decision under the Victim’s Right to Review (VRR) scheme.”

Ms Ainslie added: “An extensive review of that decision, which involved an independent prosecutor re-examining a substantial amount of evidence and material in the case, has now been completed.”

She said this second review was conducted by a prosecutor who was independent of the original review and this represents “a final decision by the CPS”.

No request was received under the VRR scheme to review a separate decision not to charge a suspect in relation to allegations of perjury.

“Offences of misconduct in public office were reconsidered, but the review upheld the original decision not to bring any criminal charges against the four officers in the case,” said Ms Ainslie.

“We understand this news will be extremely disappointing for Stephen’s family and friends, and the CPS has offered to meet with close family members to explain our reasoning in further detail.”

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